Before my memory slips me, and I cannot retell my stories to my grandchildren, I must write down what I remembered from just six months ago. I am trying to be more diligent at blogging about various aspects of my life that involves Lao charity, culture or cuisine. The more I immerse myself into serving the Lao people, the more I am discovering who I am and have developed an undeniable passion for most, if not all, things Lao. I am slowly becoming my Mae who taught me the importance of staying true to our roots and where we came from. My visits to the rural and mountain villages of Laos draws me closer to the person I am created to be. A woman of basic needs and means to find fulfillment and joy in the simple and ordinary things in life.
This mission started upon hearing the devastating plight of the poor villagers experiencing unusually cold weather. Jai Lao had to do something to help ease their pain and burdens. Children were getting sick, because they just did not have the proper winter clothes to keep them warm and safe from the dangers of the frost and even snow. We quickly asked the public for help starting with a coat drive asking our supporters for gently used coats. We also wanted to help keep the children warm at night with blankets, because some are too poor to own more than one or two blankets per family. We simply asked for $5 to help buy a child a blanket, but received a response from our FB community that surpassed our expectations and goals. People donated close to $12,000 and almost 500 jackets and coats in less than two weeks time! In addition, we also received donations of dental and educational supplies. This makes it so crystal clear that humanity is very good and when called to action reacts quickly.
The Jai Lao team of volunteers on this special humanitarian mission consisted of Board of Directors and Donors from America, Canada, Japan, and Laos. With the generous contributions from our faithful supporters we were able to bring coats and blankets to eleven villages totaling 526 families plus 198 students living in a village to attend school far from home. In addition, 150 disabled students and patients also received blankets at the Disability Center and Hospital in Vientiane which makes it a total of 500 coats and 2,150 blankets of love given to keep our Lao brothers and sisters warm.
No matter what ethic group the villagers are, we are all still of the same group of humanity. We speak the same universal language of love, compassion, gratitude, and joy. True charity does not see ethnicity, religion or any other differences. We have the same basic needs in life which is to love and be loved, have hope for a better future, and to be warm and safe. Jai Lao’s mission is to help the economical and educational needs of villagers through building schools for the village children to attend. In addition, we strive to provide humanitarian aid to help with the basic necessities of living a bit more comfortable, warm and hopeful life. I am so thankful for people who are a part of this cause that truly connects us as a world of compassionate hearts giving back to humanity.
The highlight on this mission for me was seeing the compassionate and caring hearts of those who have so very little yet are willing to give you so much more. We were high in the mountains on our way to visit our last village of 198 students in a boarding school where home is a day’s walk. Our van and truck of winter wear got stuck in the mud, and no matter what we did, we could not get ourselves out. The rain started pouring, and it was decided that we would start walking back to the main road which would take a good hour. During our trek back, we met a young father with his child on their way back home from tending to his buffalo. He kindly told us to go to his home a yonder way to wait out the rain. We didn’t intend to, but we saw him again in his home this time, and he motioned for us to come inside from the rain. He and his little family made us a warm fire to stay warm and even offered what little food they had for us. The village we were supposed to go visit also sent over food for us to eat. It was the most simple of meals we’ve ever had yet it was the most satiating as it filled our bellies and hearts with love and warmth. There is so much to learn from the simple and humble villagers of Laos, and each trip I take feeds me with more love for the people and their way of life.
Here is the whole album from JLF’s FB fan page. Click on the link below to view this mission.