Friendship and Paddles

GHS was invited to participate in a Baci Ceremony this weekend!

Before dinner on Friday, staff and students made their way to a local home to participate in a Laotian Baci Ceremony. This ceremony is held for many different occasions throughout the year, stemming from weddings to new family members. It just so happened that we were the reason for the ceremony!

We were greeted by warm wishers and took our seats around the Pha Khuan – a tall marigold pyramid placed in the center of the room. The elderly women then began to chant in unison led by the elder male (known as the Mor Phon) who conducts the ceremony. These chants were said to bring good wishes and eliminate anything bad coming our way.

After the chanting had come to a close, elders went around the room and tied six white strings to our wrists. Each string represented a blessing from the twelve elders and we were told to keep them on for three days in order for our wishes to come true. With the string tying procession over, we were then invited to snack on the various treats they provided for us before saying our goodbyes.

Kathy took students to Big Brother Mouse on Saturday morning to chat with local students wanting to practice their English. Big Brother Mouse was founded in 2006 with the goal of providing English-speaking skills and promoting literacy in Luang Prabang. Throughout the week, a variety of volunteers show up to the organization to chat with locals looking to practice and strengthen their English skills. Not only did we help them practice their English, but we also discovered so much more about the daily lives of people in this city… a truly rewarding experience.

By the time noon came around, students were geared up and ready for another optional excursion: kayaking!

Staff and students divvied into doubles to hop in the kayaks and make our way down the river. Most of our boats were large enough to hold two people with the occasional one-person kayak. Some of us paddled on forward with the guide while the rest of us took in the gorgeous palm trees and even caught sight of an elephant along the way. With paddles in hand, it took us close to two hours until we reached our final destination where we all met to head back to the hotel.

Some of our kayakers even made their way into the river! With a quick topple and dive, Stephen, Meagan and Liam took a quick dip over the kayaks and into the cool waters. Thanks to the baking sun, it wasn’t long until they dried out and made their way to the final checkpoint. All in all, it was an exciting day for everyone that will be remembered with plenty of laughs.

Yours on the river,