Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
Water is life and we had a sufficient amount of it while we were in Kass, but it was hard for me to imagine where it came from in this parched desert landscape. When our colleagues suggested we go for a picnic on the wadi (“river” in Arabic), we jumped at the opportunity to spend some time outside of work and to see something new. We knew that we would be out of radio signal range from the other NGO’s , and there was a chance our truck might get stuck in the sand, but we threw security concerns to the wind because we were thirsty for some leisure time. It was a chance to see the so-called “river” that to me was just a stretch of sand that threatened to stall our truck each time we drove over it. The idea that there was actually water underneath that dry landscape was almost mythical to me. I was curious and intrigued to see it up close.
The first thing I did when we got to our picnic spot was to go to one of the water holes that someone had dug. It was no more than four feet deep and had several inches of water in it. In the distance I can see other people at their hand dug holes doing laundry or collecting water into jugs that they balanced on their heads back home. There was a river after all just below the expanse of all that sand. Amazing!
As we sat on the sand enjoying each other’s company and the few snacks we brought along (local bread, peanuts and cokes), the foot traffic on the wadi seemed to be mostly of children. Pictured above is a group of boys who must have been either on their way to or back from the mosque since all of them had a Koran in their hands. They had a donkey with them, too, and I wondered how they decided which one amongst them got to ride it (and it gave me an idea for one of our programs which I’ll post about soon).
The afternoon sun began to set, thankfully lowering the temperature and giving us more shade. We relaxed into a traditional game played in the sand with rocks. Well, my husband played since I was too distracted by the activities around me to listen closely to the rules. I took it all in and before I knew it, dusk was upon us – our signal to head home. I felt so light and peaceful on the way home, looking out the window at the surreal scenery as it grew darker. It was unbelievable that I was actually there on a wadi in the middle of Africa. It was as though I was watching myself inside a documentary film of far away places, places where one could only dream to go. And yet there I was.
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What was it like when you traveled somewhere you never imagined finding yourself?