Links with Laos
Just as telephones, computers, post offices, airplanes, and automobiles allow us to stay
connected with loved ones in many corners of the world, your support has provided the
opportunity for connections and relationships to strengthen with our brothers and sisters in Laos. Serving as a Global Mission Intern in Laos, my work has been primarily with Lao children and youth. I have taught English to grades 1-5 at Providence Kindergarten and Primary School
Just as telephones, computers, post offices, airplanes, and automobiles allow us to stay connected with loved ones in many corners of the world, your support has provided the opportunity for connections and relationships to strengthen with our brothers and sisters in Laos. Serving as a Global Mission Intern in Laos, my work has been primarily with Lao children and youth. I have taught English to grades 1-5 at Providence Kindergarten and Primary School (a private school of the Lao Evangelical Church located in Vientiane). I have also had the opportunity to volunteer and work with students at Donkoi Primary School and Development Center (a public school in Vientiane). My students are energetic and happy, often running to the board or to me with questions before the lessons are even complete.
In addition to my work at both schools, I have also spent time at other locations that work with Lao children and young adults, in particular the National Rehabilitation Center of Laos. The National Rehabilitation Center not only provides treatment for individuals with disabilities, often those who have been injured from unexploded bombs left from the ‘Secret War’ during the Vietnam War, but is also a school for the deaf and blind. Despite their lack of sight or hearing, these children are very eager and curious to learn. I spent afternoons doing activities with the blind and deaf children. Each time were filled with excitement and questions. “ Jao suu young” (What’s your name?), “Jao bi dat di? (Where are you from?)”, “Passa an git makhoy?” (How do you say ‘makhoy’ (banana) in English)?
I love working with and teaching children! Regardless of cultural differences that may exist, all children are filled with contagious energy, laughter, smiles, imagination and creativity. Their wonder and discovery of the world around them is abundant and present in ways many adults have often forgotten. Children live ‘beautiful carefree lives’, despite what they may or may not have, as representative of Lao, a very relaxed and peaceful country. The world is fascinating to children. While Lao people are quiet and often shy, that does not mean they do not want to learn about different topics.
As an English teacher I have taken time to teach my students and other Lao children and youth about Western culture. During Christmas I made cotton ball snowmen with my students and taught them about winter. My fifth grade students also recently wrote postcards to a Sunday School class in the United States, sharing about their lives as Lao children. A few months ago visitors came from Sweden and the United States. Students welcomed the guests into school with flags and greetings of different countries. In addition, my students practiced the English alphabet by creating a paper alphabet chain. Just as all the letters of the English alphabet must be connected to form words, students were reminded that all people are linked to one another as well, despite cultural differences.
Lao people are always eager to teach me about their lifestyles, culture, language, and beliefs too. Global Ministries builds connections, and provides support between Lao children and people of other countries; these global links are beneficial to us all. I have been very blessed to work with and learn from Lao children and youth as a Global Mission Intern! Thank you for your continued love, prayers, and support!
Nicole Betteridge serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Lao Evangelical Church.