The Ultimate Before and After

In blogland, we like a good project with dismal before photos and happy, happy, joy, joy after photos.  Our build here in Laos provides just that.
When we arrived nearly two weeks ago, we learned two startling facts about Laos:   It is the most bombed country in the world, and the average annual income is $980.00.  With the knowledge of these two facts under our belts, we made up our minds to do everything possible to help the school community in the village where we were building.   Our goal was to build a new wing of the existing school to accommodate three classrooms and to build a playground.  Well, not only did we do that but we also painted all of the existing classrooms, cleaned and repaired all of the classroom furniture, and made a falling-down rice shack/turned classroom into a real classroom. 

When we arrived in Laos, the locals had completed the school’s support beams.


We dug  the trenches to start the foundation.


Bricks were ready to be used in the foundation.  This is how they do the foundation in Laos. 

 



Foundation


The walls starting to go up. 

 



The three classrooms are taking form. 

 


This is the back of the school. 

 



When we had to leave, the walls were up, and the locals will add the room, floor, and shutters.  We made a lot of progress in such a short time.


The playground equipment was nonexistent when we arrived.  Our team built a jungle gym that the locals can add to if they want.  The children loved their new swings and climbing to the upper level.


This is the playground while we were measuring to know where to place the suppport  posts.



The post of the playground set in concrete. 

 


It created a lot of interest.


The crowd roared with excitement.




The swings can hold two at a time.


This are the what the six existing classrooms looked like before.  After many hours of scraping off dried papers and glue, this is what they looked like after three coats of yellow paint to three walls and and three coats of blue paint to one wall, new white boards, clean tables and benches, and clean chalk boards.  We also supplied each teacher with a ton of teaching materials.  The existing classrooms were not part of our original project, but we all know what a difference a little bit of paint and elbow grease can do.



This is what the classrooms looked like before we got there.  The walls were plain concrete with students’ worksheets glued to them.


The concrete soaked up the paint.

Here is a room in the progress of being cleaned up after the paint.

Beautiful blue is behind the chalkboard to draw the kids’ attention to the teacher.

 


This is the before view of an abandoned rice shack on the school grounds that is now being used as a fourth grade classroom.  The back wall of the shack had a hole so large that a child could easily fall through it.


This shows how much of the original structure we removed.

New floors were added.


This is the rice shack after.  It is being used as the fourth grade classroom and now has a new floor and new bamboo walls.

At the end of our build, the locals had a ceremony for us which included speeches, dances, a ceremony where they blessed us and tied strings around our wrists for good luck, and a hearty meal of traditional Lao foods.



Some photos taken by group volunteers Ling Mei and Raymond.