Oudomxay, Laos - Where it all began

If you are asking: where is Oudomxay? Then you are asking the same question we had for several months. The answer is: it’s where very few tourists go.

Oudomxay is a province in northern Laos centered approximately around the city of Muang Xai, which is 55 miles northwest of Luang Prabang near the border of China. That may not sound like a long ways, but its a four (4) hour van ride on crazy roads from Luang Prabang. This is Laos after all…

We went to Oudamxay to volunteer at the Phuanmit “Friendship” School – Phuanmit means “friendship” in Laos. We “discovered” this school through a friend who had a friend at a church who knew a missionary in Laos who was dedicated to helping the people in this region. We are not a religious family but we were looking for a volunteer activity and helping out a new school in northern Laos sounded like an adventure.

We spent the better part of a day making our way from Laung Prabang to Oudomxay province and then working up gravel roads to the Phaunmit “Friendship” School. We had planned to spend five full days there doing whatever we could to help the school. Upon arrival they asked if we knew electrical. Having done several home construction and improvement projects I said “Yes”; so Mina, the school director, showed me a partially completed solar power system and said “can you complete it?” I thought we were going to wire a few light bulbs together, not rewire the whole school… But having actually installed a solar power system previously I say “sure – why not”.

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