Please mind the gap

Excuse the cheap pun – I do not mean to make a train announcement. Today, I’d like to introduce an awesome tool to you guys: Gapminder.

It allows you to create a great number of statistics and charts based on a huge variety of reliable, current data (very often based on UN organizations). So basically, it’s all about illustrating the widening gap between rich and poor. You can compare many nations in regard to e.g. annual income, gender equality, literacy, …

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Stimme einer Gastbloggerin

Da ich selber zur Zeit nur spannende Geschichten über die eiernde Rotationsbewegung meines Ventilators an der Schlafzimmerdecke erzählen könnte, dachte ich mir, ich verwende einen Text meiner ASA-Tandem-Partnerin. Bella arbeitet nicht bei KM8, sondern im Ministery for Education and Sports in der Innenstadt. Ihre Arbeit dort ermöglicht ihr einen umfassenden Einblick in das laotische Bildungssystem, den ich persönlich sehr spannend finde. Hier also ein Text für die Fans von härteren Fakten unter euch 🙂

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My involuntary diet

As I have already mentioned in my last post: I am a terrible patient. I hate going to the doctors and remembering last year’s injury on my ankle – I usually do it too late. Needless to say, I didn’t even call in sick at work this week, but kept pushing myself to the limit. But even I decided that 10days of symptoms, severe vertigo and the loss of roundabout 4kg body mass was enough. I was more angry than concerned, however: My time here is too short and my wanna-do-list too long for any bug to keep me company any longer. That’s why I went to the doctor today.

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Smashing my stubborn head against some unexpected obstacles

Truth be told:

I am an impatient person. I confess it.

Not, when it comes to teaching. And not when my adorable nieces beg me to play a 50th round of hide-and-seek. And no, not even when our ancient Lao kettle takes forever to boil water for my morning tea.

But I am terribly impatient when it comes to realizing plans or acquiring new skills. So I arrived here two weeks ago, learnt about my official duties and settled in quite smoothly. It only took me about a day to plan a handful of lessons and tell everyone that I was ready to start. But neither did I anticipate the thick wall of administration I was about to hit; nor the Lao “work ethic” which is quite different to what I’m used to.

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Biking, Baby!

You guys know me well: It didn’t take longer than a few days until the first little trip outside of the city. Last Saturday, Khanthong invited Bella and me to join his team on a bike ride. And because he knew that I’m a bit of a herb witch, our destination was Champa Garden – a sort of botanical garden for Dok Champa, the national plant of Lao (Plumeria in English, Frangipani in German).

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Rolling up my Sleeves

So today is day 5 (I am late publishing since our wifi is anything but reliable…) and we have already experienced so much that I am struggeling to recall everything.

On Sunday, Ingrid showed us around Vientiane. We strolled through the city centre (DRIPPING with sweat…) and along Mekong river, gave Thailand a little salute from there, ate delicious street food and also bought a few clothes for me on the night markets. As you can tell, my backpack has still not arrived. We keep calling the airport but all attempts to track it have failed. Big bummer. I am trying to stay optimistic, but I am getting a little more nervous with every passing day… It’s not really about my clothes (those, I could replace and would most likely get a compensation from the airline), but I packed important meds and teaching material I won’t be able to buy here. Oh and my diary was in there, too :/ I guess it’s s a lesson learnt for life. Next time, I will simply smuggle a 50kg piece of hand luggage on board, yes.

The staff from DVV (Deutscher Volkshochschulverband) gave us a really, really warm welcome on our first day. Both our bosses accompanied us to the two work locations and made sure we would get introduced to everyone. Goals and working times were agreed on and many nops practised. Continue reading

This is where we live!