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April 2013

MEC emerging from 'winter'

Winter has come and gone. The evidence for winters around here consists of the occasional water heating element in some bathrooms, a blanket or a quilt in the closet, a pair of socks, trousers and a jumper in the same closet, and the memory of the New Year festival as celebrated by the Hmong in December. At MEC winter has made its presence known through the low electricity bills because of unused airconditioning systems in the building so badly needed these days. And these days are the days of Pi Mai Lao, the Lao New Year which among other things, is a definite announcer of the 'cold' season having finished, doing away with all above mentioned things and replacing it with scorching heat and smoky skies that rain ash from the mountains where farmers are doing their seasonal burning of the forest. 'Weather conditions' at MEC however tend to have a somewhat fresher and more 'spring-like' feel. Sprouting and blooming are words that come to mind when talking about MEC:

Teachers at MEC

Sprouting and blooming would then firstly apply to our teachers at MEC. 5 of our students were selected last year to do a 'teacher training course' with Mr Claus. Over a period of six months they adapted to the role of teacher and as from February this year all 5 of them are teaching English classes at MEC independently and have therewith embarked on a career in teaching. Our teachers are our most tangible evidence of what MEC can mean to young people who, had they not come down to a place like MEC, would now be up on those mountains burning down the forest to try to get some farming plot going to sustain themselves and their families. we take pride in helping people but we would not be able to if they wouldn't want to help themselves. We are proud of our teachers! Where they bloom, the students follow! They are a living advertisement for MEC!


Sponsoring is essential for many of our students and thankfully, many people are generous and kind to support a student at MEC to enable her or him to study English, a possible key to a better life for many here in Luang Prabang. It is fantastic to know of these people who completely selfessly donate money so someone they don't know can have a go at studying. More than a hundred of our now 400 plus students enjoy some kind of financial support like this and we owe thanks to all of them. Thank you Bob, thank you Joao, thank you Kurt, thank you Max, thank you Juergen, thank you Alex, thank you Roman, thank you Sabrina, thank you Petra, thank you Anna and Agnieszka, thank you Andrew, thank you Dawn, thank you Iwan and Jacintha, thank you fam. de Groot, thank you Mw. Homan, thank you Gillian, thank you GVI, thank you Norbert, thank you Ulrike, thank you Ingrid, thank you Martin, thank you Anne Catherine, thank you Andrea, thank you Celina and Laura, thank you David, thank you Sheila, thank you Gretel, thank you Christine, thank you Larry, thank you Becky, thank you Seng Dao, thank you Amphone, thank you Kim, thank you Chris, thank you Karen, thank you Michael, thank you Reiner, thank you Waldies, thank you Michelle, thank you Mandy and thank you all through the foundation E.L.K.


More support for our students we are happy to receive from volunteers. Due to our system of teaching we are able to provide a very flexible volunteer 'programme'. This means that those who have not announced their being with us in advance can also volunteer in our classes, provided we have a class without a volunteer at the time. In this way, many people having learned of MEC during their stay in town, can just come by and join classes for the time suitable to all. In general we learn that volunteers at MEC find it a worthwhile experience and leave with the intention to return sometime. Volunteering at MEC appears to be worthwhile because everybody involved benefits from the experience; the teachers assisted by the volunteer is happy to have someone doing some of the exercises and activities, the students love the presence of a 'Falang' (foreigner) to practise 'for real' and the volunteer experiences this enthusiasm and sees her or his participation of importance. In return MEC usually has the privilege of saying goodbye to a happy volunteer who wants to return and at the least has had a good time with us. We fondly remember those who were with us recently - Gillian, Mandy, Sheila, Arjan and Steven, to name but a few....