A typical day in Ban Yangkheua

We had breakfast at 8’o clock. The ladies from the village took it in turns to cook us sticky rice, bread and egg, once they even brought us beetles! The beetles didn’t taste too bad but they’re not my favourite food. They brought the food to the guest house on a low table. We sat on the floor while the Laos ladies watched us eating.

 

 

At 8: 30 the children went to school and we prepared for our lesson unless the teacher was ill or it was raining in which case they came to the guest house to play with us.

At 9’o clock we went to the school to teach the children English. The school was a small brick building with one class room and one teacher. The class was a mixture of children aged 5-9, the classroom didn’t have much stationary and the children sat at desks and copied writing off the blackboard at the front of the room. Our normal lesson plan was to sing hello how are you, then teach them some English with flash cards and play a game, and finish the lesson by singing some songs.

At 10: 30 we went back to the house, planned the lesson for the local guides and swam while the children were at school.

 

 

 

At 11’o clock the children came back from school and swam, did drawing and painting, listened to us singing songs and played cards and drafts. The things they enjoyed most were drawing and playing donkey whith our Harry Potter cards so on the last day we gave them each a note book, some colouring pencils and the cards.

At 12’o clock we had lunch. The villagers came to the guest house with our food. For lunch we had vegetables meat and sticky rice, once they gave us frogs for lunch!

At 1: 30 the children went back to school and we relaxed, wrote our blogs, swam, did our project and collected water from the pump. We had to pump our water because the river water isn’t clean and there are no taps.

 

At 3’o clock the children came back and played more games with us.

At 5’o clock the villagers washed in the river because they don’t have water in their houses.

 

 

At 6: 30 we had dinner. Dinner was normally noodle soup, vegetables, meat and sticky rice but with one meal we had fish, shrimp and water lice as well!

At 8’o clock we went to the village meeting house where Mum and Dad taught the local guides and Jago, Piran and I played it with the children.

At 9’o clock we went back to the guest house and went to sleep.

I liked living in Ban Yangkheua and teaching English although it was hard playing almost all day. When we played in the river, Bem (the oldest child) always asked me the names of things and then told me the Laos name for it. I think if you live in a Laos village you must get bored of sticky rice quickly.

Vang Vieng

We went to Vang Vieng because we wanted to do our project in the countryside on our way to the village were we were going to be volunteering. Our project is to create a website to persuade people only to eat sustainable palm oil products and to not use plastic. We are also going to sell bamboo straws in England to try and reduce the use of plastic straws. We decided to make the website while we were eating ice cream in Luang Prabang, the idea came to us after buying bamboo straws. Then we thought about selling them in Willingham and slowly we came up with the idea to sell them in England and to make a website advertise them.

Whilst we were in Vang Vieng we went to a cave. It was only small with an old buddha in it. At the cave there was a pool of clear blue water were we swam and played. The river by our guest house had restaurants along the banks and swings over the water so you can dangle your legs in the refreshing water. We thought we were going to see a big cave later on in the week but we left after two nights because our volunteering started earlier than we expected.

 

My favourite part of Vang Vieng was the puppies at the guest house. My favourite puppy felt like a soft carpet and was white with a light ginger spot on his back. There was also a soft puppy with black spots and a pug like face who liked to sleep on my lap. The two puppies that had ginger spots on them didn’t like to be stroked though. The gardens at our guest house were beautiful flower gardens with ivy lining the arches and bridges leading to grassy areas and ponds. In Vang Vieng people go tubing in the river but we didn’t because we wanted to finish our project. I liked the town and the caves and I will remember the puppies as the first puppies I have been allowed to stroke since we left England!

Luang Prabang and Laos new year

We stayed in Luang Prabang for two weeks. We spent most of our time hanging around Villa Oudomlith drinking lime juice and playing games but sometimes going out on trips to the city. One day we went to the UXO museum and the ethnology museum. In the UXO museum we learnt about unexploded ordernance like bommies and land mines. They were dropped in the war between Vietnam and America and even today one person is injured or killed every day. To clear up the UXOs people call someone to check the area is safe. First they check for UXOs with metal detectors and then they explode the bombs or they carefully take out the explosives. We also heard a story about a boy from a city who found a bommie whilst on holiday in the countryside and didn’t know what it was so he dropped it and killed himself and another boy. In the ethnology museum we learnt how the different tribes from Laos lived and what clothes and art they made.

We also did a tie dye class and learnt how to get silk. To make silk you need silk worm cocoons. First you have to kill the silk worm by leaving it under the sun in it’s cocoon, then you boil the cocoon until the thread on the cocoon comes off. When all the silk has came off you can sometimes have three hundred meters of silk! In the tie dye class we could make a t-shirt or a scarf. I made an indigo t-shirt so I didn’t need to make dye because it was fermented but I helped make the other dyes. To make the orange dye we took seeds from an annatto tree and ground them up into a paste, then we put them in a pan to boil. To make the red dye we chopped up the bark of a sappan tree and left it to boil too. Next we folded our shirts and tied some bits with string, then Dad, Jago and Piran put their t-shirts in the boiling water and let the dye soak in. Mum and I put our shirts in the indigo dye and squeezed them until they turned blue. We had to squeeze our shirts because the dye was green but if we squeezed our t-shirts then left them to dry in the sun they would become blue. After dying our shirts we untied the string and were left with white patterns on our t-shirts, Piran didn’t like his orange t-shirt because the white didn’t show up enough so he did another one.

After the tie dye class we celebrated Laos new year by having water fights. Laos people have water fights because they believe that the water washes away all the bad things that happened in the year. We all had water guns and ran around like crazy spraying strangers and getting soaking wet. The celebrations lasted three days but I had had enough after the first day so I got really annoyed that I couldn’t go anywhere without getting wet. The first day was really fun but I did get freezing cold. I wish English new year was like that. My favourite thing we did in Luang Prabang was the tie dye class. I think Luang Prabang is a fun city.

A 2 day walk to a Hmong village

We walked to a Hmong village with some friends that we made at the elephant conservation center. We had a two hour car journey followed by a 6 hour walk to the first village.. The walk was hot and through a jungle. There were flies everywhere so we tried to make our stops as short as possible. We saw three villages. The houses were different to our houses. They were all one wooden room and the only things in the room were mats on the floor. The villagers showered in the middle of the village under taps and used sarongs to cover their body. To go to the toilet we had to go to a separate wooden hut. There was no flush so we had to scoop some water in a bucket and flush it down the toilet. The children had to pay for school. The school was a small wooden building with benches and desks. We taught the year five class some numbers and some letters. Primary school in Laos finishes in year five.

The villagers cooked dinner over a small fire by their house. We spent a night in the the Hmong village sleeping on mats in the same room as a family. After spending the night in the Hmong village we walked back through the jungle and looked at a couple more villages. There were no tarmac roads to the village so if the villages wanted to go to the city they had to walk or drive down a dirt track. When we got out of the jungle we found a van wating to take us to Luang Prabang. When we reached the city Laos new year was starting so people were celebrating by having water fights. My favourite part of the walk was seeing the villages and how other people lived.

How to make elephant poo paper

In Laos we spent one week volunteering at the Elephant Conservation Center. One of the activities we did was making elephant poo paper. This is how to make it.

Step 1. Light a small fire.
Step 2. Put a big pan over the fire.
Step 3. Fill up the pan with water until it is 3/4 full.
Step 4. Put mulberry bark and two tablespoons of caustic soda into the pan.
To prepare the bark chop the tree and peel off the bark. Then cut off the skin and leave the bark to dry for 2-3 days.
Step 5. Let the bark boil for 1-4 hours.
Step 6. Drain the water from the pan and rinse the bark.
Step 7. Next boil three handfuls of elephant poo and two tablespoons of caustic soda into the pan.
Step 8. Boill the poo for 1 hour.


Step 9.Whilst the poo is boiling, smash the mulberry bark on a rock for 10 minutes or until it feels like thin wet cotton wool that breaks when you rub it in water.


Step 10. Separate the bark in a barrel of water and take out the hard bits.
Step 11. Line a wooden bath with sheets of plastic.
Step 12. Fill the bath with water and put a fine mesh in a rectangular frame into he water.
Step 13. Drain out the poo.
Step 14. Get the poo and mix it with the barrel of water and bark.
Step 15. Spread out two buckets of the poo and bark onto the mesh until there are no holes and it is evenly spread.
Step 16. Take the mesh out of the water and leave the paper to dry for 1-3 days.
Step 17. Carefully peel off the paper.

Top five things in Chiang Mai

  1. Elephants
    • It is fun
    • You get to ride them
    • You get to feed them
    • You get to wash them

    BUT make sure you choose a good company that looks after the elephants properly!

  2. White water kayaking
    • You go down rapids
    • It is ruff sometimes and calm sometimes
    • The guides were fun
    • You got a delicious lunch
  3. Art class
    • You get guided step by step
    • You produce amazing art
    • It is fun
    • The teacher is good
  4. Hiring bikes
    • You can go anywhere
    • Riding bikes is fun
    • You don’t need to get taxis
    • You can ride around your house
  5. Massage
    • The massage is relaxing
    • The staff are funny
    • You can all get a massage at the same time

Thailand story- The adventure of the Grand Palace

Chapter 1: Time travel
It was 2020 and Jago was wondering where to go in his time machine. He was a thirteen year old science genius who for some reason always wore green. Jago decided to go to Bangkok, the city were he lived, one thousand years in the future.
Jago arrived in Bangkok with his black and brown puppy Fudge. He wondered what had happened to the city. There was ash and rubble littering the floor and trees towering over him. Fudge ran over to a broken chair and Jago realised it was his beloved study chair. He decided not to dwell on the fact that Bangkok had been destroyed and set out to explore.

Chapter 2: The ghost encounter
As Jago and Fudge went deeper into the jungle it began to get darker and feel creepy. Jago went to a ray of sun and sat down. The instant he lent back on a tree he was surrounded by ghosts; they looked see-through but Jago could tell they weren’t. They looked like people but they hovered off the ground and had red, bloodthirsty eyes. Then they attacked; the ghosts threw sticks and stones at them. Jago used a stick as a sword but he couldn’t hurt them. Just when he thought he was dead, Fudge saved the day. He leapt into the air and started biting off the ghosts’ heads with his razor sharp teeth and soon the ghosts were nothing but mist floating away into the forest. Jago patted Fudge on the head and collapsed on the floor. After a few minutes he managed to pull himself up and carried on walking until he saw someone.

Chapter 3: Monk chat
Jago breathed a sigh of relief, he had found someone at last. Jago watched the man meditating. He was draped in orange robes and had no hair, he looked just like an ordinary Buddhist monk. He said his name was Sam and told Jago that Bangkok had been destroyed 500 years ago and everyone was looking for the Grand Palace but noone had ever found it. The King had offered a big reward to whoever showed him where the Palace was. Jago said he was from the past and knew where it was. He offered to take Sam to find it in order to get the reward. Sam agreed to follow Jago so they set off to the Grand Palace.

Chapter 4: The plan goes wrong
After an hour of walking they reached the palace. Guarding the doors were green, gold, and purple Yakshi. Dotted everywhere were golden temples and there were chedi covered in ivy so you could barely see the gold paint. They sat and gazed in awe until Sam was ready to take Jago to the King, on his hoverboard. They were about to leave when they found they couldn’t escape because every time they tried to walk away they bounced back.┬áJago spotted two young boys running towards them, one had red clothes and a black hat and the other had shaggy black hair and white clothes. Sam shouted to them for help but the boys just smirked and replied “we won’t help you, we’re Bill and Steve, the criminals who destroyed the Emerald Buddha. We followed you here and now we will take the Grand Palace for ourselves as well! Hahahahaha” Jago realised the criminals had used a force field to trap them and to get out they had to break the device!

 

Chapter 5: A grenade comes in handy
Jago told Sam the plan, they would try to explode the device using the grenade in Jago’s pocket but to do that they would have to throw the grenade precisely onto the device. Soon Sam spotted a hole in the roof. Jago had to aim perfectly because he only had one grenade. Luckily it landed perfectly on the device and the force field was destroyed. Bill and Steve immediately ran away because they were frightened Jago might have more grenades and Jago, Sam and Fudge made their way to the King’s palace. The King was very happy to hear the news and gave Jago a million Thai baht, a packet of magic refillable dog food for Fudge, a teleportation watch and a high tech hoverboard. That night Jago and Fudge returned home very pleased that they found the Grand Palace and looking forward to their next exciting time-travelling adventure.

The End

Cherating

After Kuala Lumpur we went to Cherating. Cherating is a quiet village by the beach. We stayed in a traditional house on stilts. The inside was comfy but the outside looked like a rickety shack. We had nasi lemak (coconut rice) or roti canai for breakfast every day. Nasi lemak is coconut rice that normally comes with anchovies and peanuts. Roti canai is a bready crepe that we had with banana, cheese or lime for breakfast and with a curry dip for lunch.

We went to the same places all the time and after four days we got to know the village well. We went to the beach every day. At the beach we played and surfed. The sand on the beach was smooth and the water was warm. While we were in Cherating it was Chinese new year. We put oranges and letters on a tree. The oranges were for luck and we put nice messages and money in the envelopes for each other.

One day we got back from the beach and found our pens and pencils scattered around the floor. The pencil case was missing. When we got to the patio we saw a mug on the floor so we thought we had been burgled. The next morning we woke up to the sound of monkeys on our roof and realized the monkeys were the thieves! I like staying in quiet villages rather than busy cities because you get to know the place well and there is more space to do things in.

Kuala Lumpur

We got a comfy, yellow bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. The bus was very comfortable, it had TV screens, reclining seats and meals. The bus was 6 hours long and it was Piran’s favourite bus.

We stayed in a flat on the 17th floor, Piran and I slept on sofa beds, Jago slept on a sofa and Mum and Dad had the bed. There was a shared swimming pool and play ground we enjoyed hanging out at.

 

That night we met Mark and Tina (some of Dad’s friends) and had dinner with them. We had clay pot rice with chicken, vegetables and some seafood. After diner we wandered around and Tina brought us soya bean milk and a yogurt-y thing. I liked the milk but not the yogurt. After that it was getting late so we said goodbye and went back to the flat.

That morning we woke up and decided what we were going to give up for lent. Jago and I were giving up sugary snacks, Mum and Dad gave up alcohol and Piran gave up fizzy drinks. Then we went to see a lion dance. In the lion dance people walked around in lion costumes dancing and balancing on poles. There were two people in each lion and sometimes the one on the front would jump on to the person at the back.

 

We sometimes got given oranges and chocolate coins. When Mum, Dad and Piran were eating the chocolate coins, Jago decided he would give up giving up sugary snacks and would join Piran in giving up fizzy drinks so that he could eat a chocolate coins.

 

 

The next day, Mum, Piran, Jago and I went to a bird park whilst Dad stayed in the flat and did some work. At the bird park, the most of the birds roamed free but some were in cages. All the birds were very colourful especially the peacocks. After we had wandered around, we went to the bird show. The birds showed off their tricks, flew through hoops and talked to us! After the show we went back to the flat.

Kuala Lumpur is a busy and not very interesting city, although the activities around it are quite fun. The food from the local stalls was amazing and delicious.

Sarawak Cultural Village

After Danum valley we went to Kuching for a week. We went to a cultural village. There we learnt about different tribes from Borneo. We saw what their houses looked like and how they lived. The Ibans went head hunting. This is where they killed their enemies then put the heads outside their village to scare off invaders. The Bidayuh had small blowpipes for hunting . They put in poison darts and fired at their prey. The Penans also used blowpipes but their blowpipes were the height of Jago. There were also the Orang ulus, the Melanaus, the Malays and the Chinese.
The Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and the Iban lived in longhouses. Longhouses are long houses with rooms coming off the sides and are so long a whole village can live in one. I think I like normal homes better because you have more personal space. The Melanau lived in a tall house. A tall house can hold 200-400 families and can be four floors tall. I like the tall house best because I love being high. The Malay lived in a town house and the Penan lived in huts. The Chinese lived in farm house. We didn’t see the rooms but we did learn how to make birds nest soup. Birds nest soup is a soup made out of swallow saliva that has been taken out of birds nests. All the houses were made out of bamboo, even the tall house!

 

 

 

 

We watched a show were we saw traditional dances. My favourite thing was the show.

Next we went to a beach, had lunch and played. We used our blowpipe and Jago and Piran fought with sticks. After we had had enough time at the beach we went back to Kuching. Kuching was a nice place to visit and there were lots of things to do around there. We were going on to Singapore in 2 days time and that night we were excited to meet Dad but sad about saying goodbye to Rosie.