During my time in southeastern Asia, I spent two days on a slow boat traveling down the Mekong river in Laos. Along the way we stopped at the small village of Huay Pha Larm, which has about 500 people, 80 families. Most of the villagers work in the nearby rice farms. The children ran down to meet our boat at the river, and then led us up the hill to the village. They especially loved iPhones – they loved when we took their photo and then showed it to them on the screen. Most of the kids were very friendly, most of the adults ignored us and went about their business. When we walked back down to the boat, the kids followed us again, and when they got to the shore they stripped off their clothes and jumped into the river to cool down from the hot, humid day.
It’s incredibly eye-opening to visit a village in a third world country. There is so much work to be done to help combat poverty, hunger, and access to technology and education across the globe. Meeting the vibrant, enthusiastic kids here is motivational and makes your heart swell a few sizes.