Jasmine Poon 11A – Luang Prabang, Laos (Poverty & Human Rights)
In this CAS Project experience, we had the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities that touched upon poverty as a global issue and allowed us to immerse ourselves in a new culture that was very different from our own. We mainly participated in an ongoing project where we helped build an eco-dormitory from just mud and straw. It was so rewarding to watch our incredible progress, making three walls of bricks that were from pits of mud which we made ourselves. Not only did this challenge us physically, building up our strength and stamina just as the hikes did, it also made us reflect on sustainable practices as well as reminding us of our privilege and the little things we can do to help the less fortunate. It was a real wake-up call on everything we take for granted; quite literally considering the cold bucket showers we took!
Besides this, we learnt a lot about the culture and environment in Laos during the hike, the visit to the shaman, the stroll through the night market, living in the villages, campfire conversations every night, and more. We learnt to speak the Laotian language, tasted their delightful delicacies, played games with the kids and had the privilege to listen to personal stories from our local guide Kor and a shaman who really opened our eyes to a whole other world and culture that made me reflect deeply on my own life and choices. This experience was packed with many smaller and equally impactful experiences that filled me with emotions both of empathy and of joy. I could not ask for anything better.