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A Good Inheritance

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Ann Munson, Associate Country Leader, Laos

Good Friday 2022 was a day to remember. We received an eye-opening email from Patsy Kent asking if we would consider returning to Laos for a few years. We had served with REI there before, starting in 2008 and coming home in 2012. At that time Craig and Patsy Kent were serving as REI country leaders for Laos.

A familiar, welcoming sight - Patuxay Monument in Vientiane

Now, here we are, back in the Vientiane capitol. We arrived a couple months ago. After five weeks of orienting us to both old and new in Laos, the Kents departed, retiring and passing on to us the reigns of country leadership.

Through the Kent’s generosity, we inherited a house full of furniture, a car, and bicycles – everything we need to set up house and home. However, more than that we inherited the benefit of their good reputation, one of kindness and integrity. This allows us to continue in long-standing relationships with those they instructed in English and life-changing values.

Our first social gathering after moving in

Even though Patsy and Craig worked hard to advance the English skills of many in the hospital and the medical university, we knew Covid-19 had disrupted their many English classes. As we arrived in Laos, we were initially concerned that English might not be as valued now as it was when we were here before. Not true!

In fact, the potential for training enthusiastic students in Vientiane abounds. At the request of the director of one of the larger hospitals here, we tested 170 of their staff for English placement recently. All were eager to learn English, although many came to the initial interview nervous and anxious. After determining their appropriate English levels, we will start classes.

When doctors and nurses in Laos develop proficiency in English, they become candidates to travel out of the country for training programs and seminars. English comprehension also opens up their ability to receive instruction from visiting doctors who come here to train. The overall benefit is advancement in medical knowledge and care, a benefit that is then experienced by people throughout the country.

Bill teaching English at Mittaphab Hospital

As our students advance in English comprehension, we also aim to mentor them in values that develop integrity and hope in their lives, which then gets passed on to those around them, building people to build a nation.

As we step into this role as REI country leaders for Laos, we appreciate the legacy the Kents left behind in advancing medicine, English, values and hope among the people of Laos.

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