We'll always have Paris... in Laos

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Mar 11, 2008

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Sunday, September 9, 2007

In Laos (an old colony of France), the French influence is very apparent especially in the capital city.  Vientiane has a Parisian flavour and it is very noticeable in its architecture, downtown area, street signs and cuisine.  French restaurants offer gourmet meals at a fraction of the price.  Golden temples decorate the city.  Markets are also everywhere. 
Laos is a country in need of assistance and Ty and I were disillusioned by the fact that the NGO's are located in the most expensive buildings in the very trendy parts of Vientiane.  World Vision, UNICEF and UN organizations all display their brand new, top of the line, 4 by 4 trucks (one being a Toyota Sequoia).  Most streets are not big enough for these monsters!  Our money at work!?!   
If you want to visit Laos, do it soon.  In three years time, the country will open up to foreign businesses.  The locals are concerned that they will suffer from too many enterprises venturing into their territory.  I do hope that the charm, innocence and magic are not forgotten by money.
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arza89 on

When i was in cambodia working with the Jesuits (another NGO) we found the same problem. A lot of the large organisations like World Vision and Unicef all have large trucks or in some cases New Airconditioned minibuses. Yet when we were out working in the villages or going to hospitals to deliver food and supplies we never saw these trucks and minibuses. It's nice to know that there are some NGO's that do put their money to good usage, and the Jesuits are one of them. Continuing on from my last comment, if you do go and work in a 3rd world country work with an organisation like the Jesuits, they'd be more than willing to have you.

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