CAS Week 2018

Renaissance College

Category: Luang Prabang, Laos

Day 7 – Encountering bears and swimming in waterfalls

For our final day of CAS we went to visit sun and moon bears and learn about the different types of bears. We learnt about how the different types of bears are endangered and nearing extinction. Afterwards we ventured to a few waterfalls where we saw many pools of natural water. The reflection of the light on the waterfalls were mesmerising and gorgeous. However, only about half of us ended up swimming in the waterfalls because it was extremely cold and freezing, as a result the rest of us just ended up spending the time together and socialised.

The view of the waterfall was new and special which was simply amazing. Next, we had a rest back at the hotel and then we were let out in the night market to get our own food and spend the rest of our time together at the in this market. At the end of the day, CAS was a trip that we would not forget anytime soon, it was a fun and enjoyable experience while it lasted.

Day 6 – Leaving the village

We started the day with the last breakfast in the village. Before we left the village, the villagers held a leaving ceremony for us. We all gathered in the community hall surrounding two metal “drums”. On each there were sticky rice wrapped with banana leaves, eggs, snacks, Pepsi and a flower offering. Firstly, we passed around the Pepsi and each took a sip. Then we were offered the eggs and sticky rice. Lastly, they tied strings on our wrists to reconnect us with the 32 spirits that they believed in, to ensure us safe travels and return home safely.

We had lunch on a boat with mountains as the backdrop which is an incredible scenery. Moving onto another boat, we travelled to the Buddhas cave (Pak Ou Cave) and showed our respects by offering rice and snacks. Furthermore, we placed strings in the cave higher than our head so that nobody would step on our souls. There was also another cave, that was higher up on the mountain with geographical significance as people from the past thought there were spirits inside. However, the King of Laos did not want the villagers to believe in other gods except the Laotian Buddha. So the temple was put in place to ensure the Buddha is the only God worshiped.

Continuing on the same boat, we arrived at paper village. This is where we observed how villagers made paper and added different types of organic materials into the paper for different patterns. The paper is then used for artwork, booklets, decorations, postcards and etc.

We made our way to a new hotel in Luang Prabang, closer to the night market. After cleaning ourselves up we went to have dinner where we had a fusion of hotspot and barbecue. In our own free time we were then able to go to night market.

Day 5 – Teaching, bamboo river rafting, and final goodbye to the high-school: breaking language barriers

The many weeks of preparation led up to the events of today – we were finally going to teach the students of Pakseng High School.

What was a friendship dance quickly turned into what felt like a dance party. They showed us their culture, we showed them ours, and in the process, we had found some common ground in the universal language of EDM remixes and wild beat drops.

Day 4: School toilet building

Today we continued to help the build the school toilet following up from day 3. First we had one pile where we mixed cement with sand and another with cement and gravel. After mixing we poured water in to make cement, I took turns with different people to mix it. After mixing I helped out in laying bricks which was a new experience for me. At the end of the day we had cooking lesson but unfortunately I cut my finger at the beginning so I couldn’t participate in the session.

I helped carry bricks up and down at the start of the day. After we had lunch I started helping out with laying bricks which was quite challenging but fun in the same time. At night we had a cooking lesson and I was part of the group that helped cook a variety of vegetables. Seeing other people eat the food I made gave me a smile. Before we went to bed we learned some of Laos culture where we had to make this basket and it turns out in their culture if you can’t make a basket you won’t be able to get married.

Day 3 – Sunday in Laos

We took off from the smoky bustling city in Luang Prabang and took a 2.5 hour trip to a small village in the Seung Cheung Valley River where we will be staying for 3 nights. The villagers welcomed us with lovely local vibrant flowers after our tiresome ride down twisty roads. In groups of 3, we were assigned to a homestay house and got to settle in before lunch. The first meal was great, it was amazing.

In the hot afternoon, we got straight into the project work. We learned how to mix cement to make a new toilet for the school that was nearby the village. The school housed 800+ students but only had one toilet with two stalls. We gathered cement powder, sand, gravel, and water to make the foundation of the toilet. The day was quite tough because you had to mix cement with gravel, sand, and cement all together with shovels and hoes. It was easier said than done. After the project work, we went straight back to the village to relax, to interact with villagers, and talk with the hosts.

After the tiring day, we ate dinner and prepared for the night event. The primary school children performed a dance for us and we later performed two songs for the village. We later on played some games such as a stick game where you can’t make the stick fall while listening to commands. After some games, we learned a friendship dance with the villagers; a group of people in twos circle and they spin occasionally.

After the night events, we went back to the homestay houses and slept after a long and eventful day.

Authors: Joanne, Gywneth, Tiffany

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller once said that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” On November 17th 2017 we embarked on a journey to Luang Prabang in Laos for what will be our final school trip as a group in RCHK. Our group left Hong Kong International Airport and arrived in Bangkok before transferring to Luang Prabang. When we arrived, we boarded trucks and headed to the Sunway Hotel, before going to the Pak Houay Mixay Restaurant to feast on local cuisine. We then went to the local night market to get a taste of the local goods. Overall, this was an exciting prelude to what will be an unforgettable adventure that every one of us will cherish even after we leave RCHK.

– Written by Brian Chan
P.S. Thinking of our families back home, looking forward to seeing you guys in a week.

Laos, here we come!

And we’re off! Bags checked in, all through security and ready to board the plane! Everyone is in great spirits!

© 2018 CAS Week 2018

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