Dear Sombath…from Emi Weir

Dear Sombath,

It is Boun Easter in Australia and I am home visiting family and friends. I must admit I escaped Boun Pi Mai in Laos, it is a wonderful Lao celebration but it makes me miss my own family. Easter is such wonderful time to be home in Sydney when everyone has a long weekend and we can enjoy picnics on the boat and beaches, swim in the still warm waters.

Which makes me think about our first meeting. I was having a coffee with Shui-Meng, talking handicraft, and you came into the cafe. Shui-Meng introduced me and my tourism background, to which you were very quick to show interest. You spoke about the PADETC farm outside of Vientiane, how many of your friends who left Laos as children, loved to come back and feel the mud between their toes, and remember the agricultural lifestyle of your beautiful country. I can really appreciate how Lao people connect with the environment and even miss that when they move to the city. As an Australian I have great memories of the beach as a child, and of the bush, spending time swimming in streams, seeing lots of native animals including spiders and snakes. We spoke about this connection and how it helps make a country grow, how appreciation of where our food comes from is important and our natural resources. How as children if we experience and appreciate this, we will ensure the next generation does too, and share with them.

Every time I read about you I pray you too are experiencing some joy of the natural beauty of your country, and like me you can go home and see your family for the next festival. Shui-Meng has taught me and inspired me so much in the few years I have known her, it hurts me so much that you two are not together enjoying that natural beauty.

Emi Weir