Warm blankets

Not a polar vortex, but …  (February, 2019)  Although Laos has a tropical climate, temperatures in Luang Prabang can drop to overnight lows in the low- to mid-teens Celsius (55 to 61 F). On January 23rd, 2019 seven consecutive nights were forecast with lows of 14 C (57 F– left photo above. Because the village is 465 m (1,526 ft) above Luang Prabang, temperatures will be 3 C (almost 5.5 F) lower due to the variation of temperature with altitude, or 11 C (52 F). Check temperature variation with altitude.      

 

While I was discussing a shipment of improved cookstoves with Bounchan on January 30th, 2019, he conveyed a message from the village chief (Xia Por Vang) that villagers – especially poorer families -- had been very cold, and he asked if blankets might be delivered instead. 

 

So, on Wednesday February 6th the village sent a “Chinese buffalo” tractor 36 kms to Luang Prabang to pick up a shipment of blankets which the project sponsored. (A feat by itself since Chinese buffalo tractors are not prone to receiving speeding tickets; their top speed is probably 12 - 15 km/hr with the “pedal on the metal”.)

Update:  On Wednesday January 6th, 2021 the overnight low forecast for the following Tuesday (right photo above) was 8 C  (46.5 F) which translates to 5 C (41 F) at the village.

In the photos below:  Photo 1 shows a very pleased villager receiving his blanket from Bounchan (on the right). The “Chinese buffalo” tractor was loaded up with blankets in Luang Prabang in photo 3. The presentation ceremony has begun in photo 4 with chief Vang and Bounchan shaking hands. Another happy villager appears in the 5th photo, followed by a group photo. Most villagers -- i.e. the women -- were apparently out preparing the rice fields for the next planting starting in April. (Hidden on the right of the group photo are two of the village women, and on the left rear is another woman in a pink top. Remember, this is a patriarchal society.)