Runway -not runaway- is the name of the newest local disco where we went the other night. Finally, we managed to go out with our colleages Dachang and Thoummy to celebrate, say too early goodbyes, and cheer about new jobs and things to come. On our way, we met Adam from England, a nice guy traveling Laos and other Asian countries. Crazy dance night!
In the beginning of December, we had a very special guest with us: Kiwi, a couchsurfer from New Zealand (ok, her real name was Shiowan, but that was just too difficult to pronounce/remember). She was not only amazing because of her beautiful long blond hair, but also because she had already been traveling for FIVE years! She left school early, started working hard as a 9-year-old, saved up lots of money which she was spending for her travels. All of us got along so well that she stayed for two weeks instead of two nights. We miss her!
Ban Napia, or the ‘War Spoon Village’, is, as the name suggests, a village producing spoons from the aluminum contained in war scrap from the Secret War. They buy the metal from scrap collectors, melt it and use simple moulds to produce the new objects (by now, they don’t only make spoons, but also chopsticks and bracelets). The objects are truly beautiful and rough, and knowing the story behind them gives them a mystic and slightly scary character. In my opinion, it is good to make something useful out of a once lethal material, it only shows that people are dealing with the past in a positive and pragmatic way. Many critics object the concept because they think it gives warfare a too positive touch. My only objection rather goes towards the acquisition of the metal used – many children and poor illegally collect all metal they can find and ignite unexploded bombs, injuring or even killing themselves by accident – all that for a piece of metal.
One of the first persons I got introduced to in this town, and he seems to be the one who has all the visions for this place: Mr. Njai (his name means ‘big’ in Lao, which is often given to the first-born children). Like his name suggests, he really likes to think big. But he also does things immediately after he says out loud an idea. After our first meeting, I was already part of the family, and after sharing the first meal (which was maybe our second meeting?), I truly felt like part of the clan (which seems to be huge!). If we have any question or need, all you need to do is call to Mr. Jai. What a guy.
After 62 days of non-stop traveling, there is nothing better than to plunge into the cold waters of a new work environment with a bunch of new colleagues, places, and start working non-stop for 5 days! After T. introduced me shortly to a zillion new things, we had a true marathon of concept-making, measuring, making drawings, model-building and presenting our ideas. The work here is incredibly fun and inspiring with all the new surroundings, people, stories, cultures, materials and inputs. It feels like our work is actually needed and it is not only about beautifying things to sell more for profit. Where is this going to lead?
… and up we float in the air into the unknown…!
There was weird sounds coming from the lower trunk of the bus – it was filled with small chicken and ducks! But one escaped and me and my fellow traveler from Israel caught it to save it from its probably dark destiny. We gave it to a local who promised to treat it well – well, let’s hope until it lands on the plate it will have a happy life!