Bercés au rythme du Laos, diantre encore des côtes dans le Nord!

Encore la tête dans le bol de riz vietnamien, nous faisons une dizaine de kilomètres en plus après le passage de la frontière vietnamienne pour se rendre compte que le départ du bus vers Sam Neua est belle et bien à la frontière! Hop demi-tour, où donc avions-nous la tête?

Pendant que Julien demande en vietnamien, euh en vietnamo laotien…

L’aventure de la journée commence car nous devons attendre un bus venant de Tanh Hoa au Vietnam qui devrait arriver en début d’après- midi et négocier notre place, celle des vélos et celle des 10 sacs…
L’attente se fera tranquille sur la pelouse à côté des bureaux de la douane pendant la pause repas et donc pendant la fermeture de la frontière. On se dit: « Il n’y pas foule par ici! ».
L’embarquement est rapide, un peu trop rapide à notre goût, c’est que l’on bichonne nos vélos! Julien monte sur le toit, vérifie la fixation, hoche de la tête, c’est parti!
Les 80 kilomètres de virages en 2h30 jusqu’à Sam Neua nous feraient presque regretter nos vélos, enfin en regardant les côtes de plus près, on se dit qu’on n’y est pas si mal!Enfin Julien…

Arrivée à Sam Neua: plus de sacs de nourriture pour cochons que de personnes.

Sam Neua: ville du bout du bout avec ses surprises au marché

Le mercredi 25 Octobre sera sous le signe du grand nettoyage, décrassage, dépoussiérage. On essaie d’être un peu présentables l’après-midi devant le directeur de SOS Villages d’Enfants Sam Neua et sa secrétaire qui viennent gentiment nous saluer à la guesthouse.
Nous prenons rendez-vous le lendemain matin pour effectuer un reportage sur le village ainsi qu’une rencontre avec les enfants pour un atelier sur la connaissance du monde en fin d’après midi.
Vous trouverez ci-dessous le compte-rendu de la visite en anglais (pour permettre au directeur et au personnel de vérifier les données), il sera ensuite classé dans l’onglet: Associations partenaires.

VISIT OF SAM NEUA SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGES (LAOS)

Sophie and I made a really nice meeting in Sam Neua, northern Laos. We met Mr. Daoheuang PHETPASEUTH and Ms. Maikham SOUKHATHAMMAVONG, respectively Director and director assistant of Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village.

Just arrived in Sam Neua, coming from the Vietnamese border, we called them and they first came to our guesthouse to welcome us. We set an appointment for the next day.
Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village is a couple of kilometres far from the centre of the city. The road is nice for cycling, through the countryside. 200m before Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village entry, we saw from the road a « SOS » made of small plants. No risk to miss the Village!

Arriving in Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village, we immediately felt the peaceful atmosphere of the place. The buildings are bright and good-looking, surrounded by plants.


Mr. Daoheuang PHETPASEUTH and Ms. Maikham SOUKHATHAMMAVONG welcome us and they gave us some information about the Village.

Here they are:

Date of visit: 27/10/2011

Meeting with:
Mr. Daoheuang PHETPASEUTH (Village Director)
Ms. Maikham SOUKHATHAMMAVONG (Village secretary)

History
2002: start of construction.
2005: beginning of the activities. Mr. Daoheuang is the 1st director. Before, he was a civil engineer. His wife is a doctor in Sam Neua.

The location
Sam Neua is the capital of the province of Houa Phanh, one of the poorest of Laos, located northern east from Laos. Per capita income of the province’s 300,000 inhabitants is about one third of that of the whole country. In many places, one can still see the destruction caused by decades of war with France and the U.S. Due to a lack of government resources, there are hardly any facilities for the support of children in need.

Facilities and population
The SOS Children’s Village is composed of 10 houses where live in each 10 children with their SOS Mother.
The SOS Children’s Village has a malnutrition centre also, which is very special. 2 houses are dedicated to this centre.
The 12 houses are spread around a nice sport field, with volley ball, football, badminton and petanque (very popular in Laos!) pitches.

Concerning education, there is a day-care centre for the children under 3 years old, a kindergarten, a primary, a secondary and a high school. The schools are open to the children and the youths from the neighbourhood. The youths from the SOS Children’s Village who come over 14 years old are hosted in a youth centre 1km far from the SOS Children’s Village, going to city centre.

An administration building, a house for the director and a medical centre (with a doctor and 2 nurses) are also in the SOS Children’s Village.

The SOS Children’s Village hosts currently 94 children. 13 SOS antes help the 10 SOS Mothers and take care about the children from the malnutrition centre.

Here are the numbers of the children in the care of Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village:
Daycare centre: 26
Kindergarten: 78
Primary school: 141
Secondary school: 126
High school: 60

Arrival of a child in the SOS Children’s Village
The board of the SOS Children’s Village is told by the surrounding villages or the committees that some children are in the need of a care. Then the director goes to the village, meet the people concerned and decide if the children can be welcome by another member of their family or if they come to the SOS Children’s Village.

As far as the malnutrition centre is concerned, the conditions of arrival are quite the same. The director visit the villages in the neighbourhood, and proposes to families to take care about one or several child(ren) who seems suffer of malnutrition. The children stay 4 or 6 months in the malnutrition centre and are brought back to their families. Currently, 27 children are in the care of the centre, where 4 ants work full-time.

Education
Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village provide educational facilities not only for the children in the care of the association, but also for the children and the youth from the neighbourhood. The education facilities hire numerous members of staff:

Kindergarten: 4 teachers and helpers (lunch supported by SOSCV)
Day-care centre: 3 teachers
Primary school: 6 teachers
Secondary + high school: 19 teachers

Out of school activities
Some sport competitions are held with other schools in the province.
There is no link for children with other SOS Children’s Villages due to the distances between them.

Organization of a SOS House
The purpose of a SOS House is to be a family house under the gently authority and in the warmly care of the SOS Mother. A SOS house hosts 10 children and 1 SOS Mother.
SOS Mothers in Vietnam have chosen to dedicate their whole life to children in the care of SOS Children’s Villages. They are single, over 25 years old and spend almost all the time with children, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. However, if needed, they can take a couple of days off every month. Before being graduated as SOS Mothers, they got a 6 months training and then 2 years of probation. Their close relatives can come to visit them 3 times a year in the SOS Children’s Village.
This organization with SOS houses aims to raise the emotional and psychological state of the children.

Fund raising
Funds of Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village come from the SOS Children’s Villages headquarter which centralizes and distributes the money collected all over the world.
The Village receives also supports by private donators and some children are sponsored by donators.

How can Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village be helped?
Any kind of help is welcome: material support, donations, stationary… Do not hesitate to contact the Sam Neua SOS Children’s Village by email daoheuang.soscvsn@etllao.com, or to visit the SOS Children’s Villages International website http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org. You can also donate to SOS Children’s Villages France via the fund raising promoted by Roule au Printemps.

After the meeting, it’s lunch time and we let our hosts have lunch and work. We came back to the Village at 4pm, after school. Almost all the children and members of the staff were on the sports field, playing volleyball or football or petanque… The sun was shining, everybody seemed happy, the atmosphere was very joyful.

Sophie and I proposed to the children to show them our route on a map we brought with us. Around 20 children stopped playing to assist to the show, which seemed very rewarding to us! Ms. Maikham SOUKHATHAMMAVONG did the translation. We asked the children to find the names of the countries on our route and to colour them on the map. This enables the children to locate European countries that seemed very far to them. We took advantage of this workshop to locate some major European cities like Manchester, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan… from which plenty of the children were wearing the football team’s jerseys…

We also gave 1 football ball to the children and ask them to sign another one that we will give to the children in the care of Nong Khai SOS Children’s Village in Thailand.

We spent a delightful moment with the children and the staff, and we realized how useful the association is for the province of Houa Phanh.

Notre mission remplie et le cœur encore léger de la rencontre du directeur et de toute l’équipe encadrante du village qui a été sensationnelle, nous nous rendons compte que la mission d’atteindre Vientiane le 3 Novembre à vélo ne va pas être chose aisée!

Un coup d’œil sur la carte nous confirme que, malgré des mollets d’acier et un moral de plomb (bah oui, c’est encore le début et les fesses ne font pas trop mal…), on aura du mal à vaincre les belles montagnes du Nord Laos. Ni une, ni deux, on remet les vélos au chaud sur le toit d’un bus jusqu’à Phonsavan. Cela prend 8 heures de bus, on ose compter combien de temps, cela nous aurait pris en vélos…et cela nous évite de faire du camping dans une zone dans laquelle subsistent encore un grand nombre de bombes non explosées datant des années 70… Le documentaire « The Most Secret Place on Earth » d’Andrew Nette sur ce sujet est très intéressant, soit dit en passant.

A la pause dejeuner:

Une petite nuit le samedi soir, pense-t-on, et nous reprendrons un bus jusqu’à Phou Khoun dès le lendemain pour enfourcher à nouveau nos vélos qui ne demandent qu’à repartir. Un voyage préparé et organisé comme les aiment les Vinot-Turri!

Le lendemain, c’est dimanche et notre bus ne circule pas…la ville ne présente pas beaucoup d’intérêt si l’on ne souhaite pas visiter la Plaine des Jarres à quelques kilomètres mais on a la chance d’avoir un soleil radieux.

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