Hmong Village visit in 2011

Hmong Village visit in 2011
Windhorse visit to Hmong Village visit in 2011

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Lao American College (LAC)

During our visit to Vientiane, Laos in July of 2010, the goals was to learn as much as we could about The Lao American College (LAC), which the Windhorse Foundation supports. Neither Don Kraft (the President of the Foundation), nor I, had ever been to the college, but we had heard wonderful things about the education that this school provides for the Lao people.
However, before we even managed to get to LAC we met one of its graduating students. We were staying at the Green Park Hotel, and we went to the front desk to ask for directions and transportation to the college. When a young man working there said, “That is where I went to college.” Don and I asked him when he graduated and he said, “I graduated this summer.” We asked him what his major was and he said business, and that it was his first day on the job. Don and I asked him what he thought of the college and he said, “It is the best school in all of LAO.”
         We were very impressed with the young man’s command of the English language and his professionalism. We were given directions and provided transportation and went on our merry way. We arrived at the college and we received a warm welcome by Ms Virginia Van Ostrand co-director of LAC. She said she would like for us to tour the college first in case we had any questions. She sent one of her assistant with us.
         We toured their classrooms, libraries, computer classes and study rooms. Then from Ms Van Ostrand we learned that LAC offers instruction in English, business management and computer programs. Courses are taught in Lao and English, with teachers from the UK, United States, Thailand and Australia. Ms Van Ostrand said LAC’s main goal is, “To shape productive citizens who can help to eradicate poverty and become leaders.”
         Don and I were very impressed with the school, the director and its statistics. LAC has a diverse student body and at present the students are fifty (50) percent men and fifty (50) percent women. The college provides financial aid to impoverished Lao students each year, and has a seventy (70) percent graduate student success rate compared to a fifty (50) percent success rate at all other LAO colleges.

By Patricia Perez

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hmong Child by Patricia Perez

In July of 2010, Don Kraft and I went to visit the Hmong village in Ban Houy nor Khoom that the Windhorse Foundation supports along the Mekong River.  We brought suitcases of clothing, shoes, glasses, school supplies, flip flops, antibacterial and medicated ointments, vitamins, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions.
After speaking with the village chief about their needs, a woman holding her son on her hip tapped me on the shoulder and showed me her son’s foot. The foot looked awful! It was black and peeling. I grabbed some of the medicated ointment and put it on the little boy’s foot. I gave the tube to the mother, and had our translator ask her to continue putting it on her son’s foot. Soon after we left the village and headed to Luang Prabang.
We stayed overnight at the Lotus Villa Hotel. However, I did not sleep well, because I was worried about the little boy. I was afraid that he might have gangrene and without medical help he would loose his foot or his life. I told Andrew the owner of the hotel about the boy. He said he would be glad to follow up. We told him Windhorse would pay all expenses. He asked for the guide’s phone number and the directions to the village.
A few days after we left I received an email from Andrew letting me know that our guide had picked up the boy and his father. They took him to doctor and he was diagnosed with a staph araeus infection and put on an antibiotic. The boy was then hospitalized for three days where they treated his foot and then released him to go home. Andrew bought the boy socks and shoes and had the guide take them back home. I was relieved to know that the little boy and his foot would be fine.

By Patricia Perez