Nam Khan rising

While I was in a blogging drought of sorts, Luang Prabang experienced torrential rains and flooding. We were told by our local friends that the Nam Khan river hadn't flooded that badly since 2008.

My co-worker, Luke, came back from his holiday in Cambodia and Vietnam just in time to witness the whole thing. While his visiting friend {who was absolutely lovely} was at a Lao cooking class, Luke killed time by strolling with me along the Mekong and the Nam Khan.

I was here volunteering this time a year ago during the rainy season and I can tell you from my previous experience that there was no flooding. Last year was as hot as ever with the exception of it cooling down in the evening during a few heavy downpours.  

The flooding was a powerful reminder of just how uncontrollable forces of nature can be. We witnessed entire homes washing away with the current and the patios of riverside restaurants destroyed. 

It was hard to watch as peoples' homes and businesses passed by, however, what made me feel uplifted {the one silver lining I found} was how the locals reacted to the chaos occurring around them. We stumbled upon a group of novices pulling tables and chairs from the river at a restaurant.

We also saw a group of men helping one another kill a snake {like the headless one above, gross} and centipedes that were invading a building, seeking shelter from the flooding.

People were coming together to help in the most casual way. No one seemed consumed by what had been lost. They just gathered in groups, saved what material possessions they could, and watched as nature did its thing. Everyone seemed grateful for what could be preserved and unworried about what had been swiped by the water. 

It's that humility and gratitude that seems to truly define the people I've met and observed in Laos. And I hope to get better at actively practicing thankfulness in my everyday life, while living here and long after I've gone.