Laos is one of the most pristine and laid-back countries in Southeast Asia, despite its landlocked location between such formidable neighbors as China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Laos is also one of the least developed and most impoverished countries in the region, so the opportunities for volunteer assistance are vast.
The Globe Aware program takes place in fascinating Luang Prabang, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its charming French-colonial architecture. Monks in saffron robes still stroll to Luang Prabang’s many temples with umbrellas over their shoulder, while long tail boats are guided gently down the Mekong River making deliveries.
Unfortunately, Laos has the dubious honor of being the most heavily bombed nation in history because American fighters used it as a dumping ground for explosives during the Vietnam War. While landmines have been cleared from all major tourist areas, and the areas where Globe Aware works, thousands of Lao people are maimed and killed every year by the tons of unexploded ordinance still not cleared from the countryside.
Our volunteer work in Luang Prabang may be spread between the government orphanage, and a variety of other village schools and community projects, as needed. Specific projects will be decided immediately before your volunteer week based on progress of previous groups and specific need at the time. You may make improvements to school structures. Facilities are often very inadequate, and you may be making general repairs such as replacing doors and windows, painting, or pouring a concrete floor, for example. You will be working alongside the local people to make vast improvements to their communities.
Deborah Fischer just returned in January from her trip to Laos and had this to say about her time volunteering with us there:
“I was assigned to teach English at an orphanage outside of Luang Prabang. The teachers were excited to watch my methods and didn't speak English well themselves. My only regret is I didn't stay longer.” Debbie recommends staying more than a week on our Laos program for a deeper experience.
“The children in Laos seemed very happy. I never heard a cry on a plane, in the street or at a public facility. The children at the orphanage were respectful and thankful for my presence. I consider myself fairly well traveled and have always been treated kindly in my journeys but perhaps not as much as in Laos. I will never forget the helpfulness, kind generosity, good will, and hospitality that I received in Laos -- all in spite of their very modest lifestyle.”
“I had a deeply lovely time in Laos. I traveled in Central & Northern Thailand, Cambodia and in Southern Thailand along the Adaman coast but nothing could compare with my feelings for Laos.”
Thanks, Debbie! I’m sure Laos, and the people of the community you served, love you back.
Our new Director of Volunteer Communications
Shanti Shahani has joined Globe Aware as the new Director of Volunteer Communications. Her professional background in marketing and communications and personal ideals of cultural awareness and service have made her a great addition to our team.
Shanti has traveled throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia and has volunteered in Mexico, her native country. Her family background is diverse and multicultural. She is thrilled to have landed her “dream job”, applying her creative talents and organization skills to the realization of international volunteer programs, encouraging people to immerse themselves in a unique way of giving back.
Shanti lives in Dallas and is married to Ian Venegas, an architect from Mexico. They have one son, Andrei, who is almost 3 and being raised to love other cultures, speak different languages, and eat all his vegetables. His parents admit they have a lot of work to do on the last one.
Welcome Shanti! We’re glad you are here.
Volunteer of the Month
It is so exciting – links to bios and trip pictures, likes and comments and shares, volunteers and their excited friends, all on our facebook page.
We’ve launched a Volunteer of the Month campaign!
You can vote with a "Like"=1 point, a "Comment"=2 points, and a "Share"=2 points. At the end of the year the "Volunteer of the Month" with the highest total wins $550 towards the program of their choice (which they can also gift to someone). All of the comments, likes, and shares must be on the Globe Aware posts on our page where we can track them; please do not post separate comments, tracking would become too difficult.
Use this link , "Like" our page, find the post for the volunteer, and VOTE!
We will count multiple comments if they are reasonably distinct (i.e. somebody just has to follow-up a point, or has to say one more thing for their favorite volunteer, or their enthusiasm carries them away), but, if somebody robo-comments, we’ll come to their house and break their keyboard in half.
More than anything, we want the campaign to be fun, we want to honor our volunteers, and we want our facebook community members to become aware of each other. At least, we hope that is the way it will be perceived. We don’t have the lawyers and accountants the Oscar’s use to pull off an air-tight campaign so please just have fun and play fair.
Coming in March ...
Be sure to visit the Globe Aware website for a big announcement about our new volunteer vacation enthusiast newtworking plaform. We are really excited to take the waraps off this new service that we know will become a hub for everything volunteer vacation realted!
New Office Hours and Email
In an effort to offer some weekend time for folks to call us to ask questions, learn more about our different trips, and take care of business, we are adjusting the times when we will be available for your calls. Our regular office hours will now be:
If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll notice we’ve eliminated Saturday hours. Nobody calls us on Saturdays; everybody must be out Having Fun..
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 877-588-4562.
Global Gourmet – Lemongrass Drink
Try this fragrant lemongrass drink in summer or winter. Add some ice cubes and it’s perfect for cooling down on a hot summer’s day. Serve it hot and it makes good company in chilly weather.
6 large stalks fresh lemongrass
6 Tbsp sugar
8 cups water
Cut the lemongrass into half, breadth-wise.
Cut off the black dusty knob at the bottom part of the root.
Wash properly and peel off any leaves that have turned brown.
Use a pestle or the blunt side of a heavy knife and thump the lemongrass especially at the fattest and juiciest part of the stalk to split it open. This helps to release the juice when boiling.
Put the lemongrass stalks in the water and bring to a boil. When the water starts to boil, turn the flame down and simmer for about an hour and a half. The water should take on a light greenish tinge.
Add the sugar and stir till it dissolves.
Serve with ice cubes for a refreshing drink. It can also be drunk hot.Panang curry with chicken represents the diversity of Thailand's southern region. Panang refers to the island of Penang in Northern Malaysia bordering southern Thailand. Use 4 tablespoons curry paste from a fresh curry paste recipe or 5 tablespoons pre-made curry paste if time does not permit making your own.
Note: If you see any impurities in the drink, remove them with a strainer.
"Friend" Globe Aware on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter!
Globe Aware is on Facebook and we are also on Twitter and we would love it if you were to join us! Please become our friend on Facebook and follow Globe Aware on Twitter. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and the best bits about our many volunteer vacation destination, trips and volunteers. And after you've friended us, please feel free to write on our wall, leave us a comment, share a picture of yourself and invite your other friends to join us as well!