Volunteering at Lenou’s Library

Lenou is a Lao law student and avid learner who has turned his home into a library and English school for the local Hmong children.  He is 30-45 minutes away from the main part of town so he has more trouble finding volunteers than the better staffed and centrally located Big Brother Mouse. However the kids in his village are too far away to visit Big Brother Mouse so he’s trying to bring education to them.

He invited me to play some games with his class.  The first day we played a rhyming game and I had the kids come up with words that rhymed with “tree”.  They thought of a good 10 or 20 words.  The second day I had another class that had less experience with English.  We attempted to play Pictionary but the kids didn’t know words like “rice”, “man”, “house” or “tree”.  Later I found out there were very early on in their English education.  What’s interesting is later in the class the kids were reading passages with words like “multilingual”, “intelligent” and “delicious”.  Not how I’d go teaching English, but this is not my class and a workbook does help plan lessons.

I’ve always joked that I wanted to write awful children’s teaching materials.  Who would know what you were writing anyways?  Looks like someone beat me to it.  The FabuLao workbook written for Laos by an American had such gems as “I never study and I am very lazy”, “beer is very good with papaya salad”, “he had a small head, so I don’t know how he could be so smart”, and “I want to find a boyfriend so I can visit other countries”.  Great things to be teaching children.

I hope the map I made Lenou to find his house will be more helpful than any teaching I could do.  I personally got lost for about an hour trying to find his house and asked everyone in a three block radius.  At this point in my travels, I’ve made maps for two of my friends.  I think that’s more maps than completed games on the trip.  I’ll change my freelance title to “mapmaker”.

Lenou’s a wonderful and kind person and a fun guy to have a Beer Lao with.  I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know him and the boys from his province that stay with him to study.  He could always use more funding and if you happen to be in Luang Prabang, you should try visiting his class in the evenings.  Here’s the link to his site for more info: Lenou’s Library.  The students are very sweet and really want to learn.  He’s running out of seats because so many new students show up every day.

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3 comments
  1. Jenn said:

    mapmaker! RAD. do they need any donations or supplies at the school? i’d be happy to keep them on my radar.

  2. Jillian said:

    Hi, I’m in luang prabang right now and want to head out to his library, what time is best? His website seems to be down and the map isn’t showing up (though thatcould just be bc I’m trying to do this on my iPod touch) any other info would be awesome!

  3. Melissa said:

    Hi There, I would also like to visit when I’m in LP in a few weeks, however the website appears to be down. Similar to the above poster I cannot locate the map 🙂

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