Luis’s Last Veterinarians Without Borders Post from Laos

Bansuan (Hello in the Katang language) This is the end of our journey, off course we are not leaving without sharing the last adventure in Savannaketh and the Katang village. Savannakhet Eco-Guide Unit has requested VSB/VSF Canada to run a project to learn about monkey population and health in the Dong Sa’kee Sacred Forest. VSB/VSF Canada has invited us along to know about the project, the life in the Katang village and the importance of the forest to local people.

After a 6 hours journey (4 hrs on a paved road and 2 hrs on a bumpy and dusty road) in our jumbo tuk-tuk (a motor vehicle and a mode of transport for private use and as a vehicle for hire) we initiated our trek guided by Sone Xay and Pasert from the Ecoguide Unit and four Katang villagers.  “The trek has been established with the consent and involvement of all stakeholders, including villagers and tourism officials, and is designed to allow communities to maximize the socio-cultural, environmental and economic benefits of tourism whilst managing its negative impacts. Village development and conservation funds are used to ensure fair distribution of the income generated by the treks.” (From Savannaketh Eco-Guide Unit information pamphlet)

We stayed in a Katang family home, attended a Baci ceremony and tried local food and drinks.  We learned the importance of the forest to local people and why the Dong Sa’kee forest is considered sacred. And now, back in Vientiane and after two hours of packing (never enough souvenirs from this fantastic country and people) I would like to say Khop Chai Lalai (Thank you very much) to everyone involved in making this amazing experience possible; thank you to the people of Laos for their amazing hospitality, VWB/VSF Canada for their amazing work in this country, Aeroplan members for their fantastic contributions that make great jobs like these possible, and to Aeroplan for making amazing trips like this one possible and accessible to their employees. Thank you, Luis

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