David, from the Rotary Club of Orillia, and past visitor to Laos (last year) has been researching a different type of water filter on his own for rural villagers, hoping to supply a lower cost alternative than the one AAVIL uses. There is a little more work in preparation of the filters themselves and certain pieces are sourced locally, but most of the prep work can be done before heading to the village, which is a great time saver too. The goal is to find a lower cost solution so that more water filters can be distributed each year. So this is a pilot project to see if they can withstand the rigors of daily use by the village families, especially the children. If successful, the next phase (next year) will be to determine the cost of transportation and customs clearance into the country with larger quantities than the 60+ units he brought with him in his luggage.
David raised his own funds from family and friends, and donated a considerable amount of his own money towards them so we are certainly thankful for his support.
There has been a rather frigid cold front go through the country for the last few days. In Luang Prabang, nightly temperatures have dropped to 4 degrees at night (colder to the north). With no heat in the huts and houses, or insulation in the walls, it isn’t long before the inside and outside temperatures became the same. As such, we hurriedly supplied blankets and warm coats for any student that asked, whether they were our own supported students or not. Poor kids were just freezing! How could anyone deny them? Fortunately normal temperatures will begin to recover in a couple of days.
Yesterday a Lao Canadian, living in Ancaster, Ontario visited Luang Prabang, after coming in second place for her age group during a marathon in Vientiane, just the day before. She came to Luang Prabang to meet relatives that she had never met before. It turned out that her uncle lived just four doors from the hotel where she is staying, and another right around the corner. When Vanh went inside their home, she saw a picture of her grandfather on the wall. Lots of emotions to be sure….