May 20. Butterfly children.

The bus to Muang Sing leaves early in the morning, and after a nearly two hour ride through the staggering subtropical beauty of a national park, the road winds down into the big valley of Muang Sing. This region has the most different ethnicities of Laos, and is currently being discovered by travelers and nonprofits alike. We jump off the bus at the gas station and walk back until we see a friendly man waving at us.

It’s Brian, who runs a children’s center here in Muang Sing together with his wife, the pediatrician Leila. We are invited and over lunch introduce our project. We learn that Leila has traveled extinsively through Laos visiting hospitals and education pediatricians. It is really great

Leila has prepared several delicacies and we have dinner together.

We watch the movie “Shine” about the genius pianist David Helfgott together and marveled at the performance of the lead actor, which had earned him an Oscar back in the days when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were still together. The making and breaking of a musical genius briliantly portrayed, thanks to the superb supporting role of Armin Müller-Stahl who plays the part of the tyrannic father. At some points, the movie comes dangerously close to the usual genius-clichés, but the acting could just compensate for that.

We are offered our own room and sleep comfortably under a large mosquito net. Such a good life.

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