Our team in Southeast Asia brings hard work and good times to Kia Luang Village
Situated in the North Luang Prabang Valley, the village of Kia Luang has been partnering with Grand Circle Foundation since 2010. The people here make a humble living by farming, tending livestock, and weaving—and have neither the time nor the resources for regular entertainment or repairs to their facilities. On June 23, 2011, during a day of community service, our team in Southeast Asia offered both. Under the leadership of Regional General Manager Rung Chatchaloemwut, a group of 19 associates, Trip Leaders, Program Directors, and local guides joined the villagers of Kia Luang in making crucial improvements to the village—and having fun at the same time.
The primary goal of the day was to improve the standards of sanitation in the village by repairing the toilet facilities in two homes. The team split into two groups, working to install plumbing and toilet fixtures, replace worn floor tiles, and repaint the walls. To keep energy levels high during the hard work, the chief of the village, Mr. Bountun, hosted the whole group for a freshly prepared lunch. By the afternoon, thanks to the outstanding teamwork of volunteers and villagers, the renovations were completed.
Then it was time to show the people of Kia Luang a well-deserved good time, for both adults and children alike. "Most of the villagers don't even have TVs in their homes, and rarely take time to entertain themselves after their hard work in the fields," says Rung. The team surprised the community with an afternoon of interactive games, skits, and small prizes for the winners. "At first they were shy," says Rung, "but after an ice-breaking activity we formed a closer connection and ended up having great fun together."
Chief Bountun was extremely grateful for both the efforts of the volunteers and the support of Grand Circle Foundation. In addition to the day's activities, he acknowledged the work that our travelers and associates have already made possible in Kia Luang, including a new library and playground for the local primary school and new handlooms to support the entrepreneurial activities of the village's talented weavers—all of which have greatly improved the quality of life in Kia Luang. "We are excited and looking forward to welcoming more travelers to visit us in the coming season," says Mr. Bountun.
The Trip Leaders who volunteered that day shared a special sense of pride in the progress of the village, as they've been visiting Kia Luang with tour groups since the very beginning of our Foundation partnership. "Kia Luang has changed a lot," says one Trip Leader. "The children have a better environment for their studies, and the villagers have weaving machines to produce crafts and create sustainable income. The picture of this village is totally different from day one to the present."
Thanks to our team in Thailand and Laos for making this special day possible, and for supporting the growth of Kia Luang in the months and years to come.
Featured in our July 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.