Bamboo Lounge's youngest staff and where they live
Bamboo Lounge Laos’ IndieGoGo campaign is almost at 10% of their goal. By supporting Bamboo Lounge you’re supporting the staff currently living in our staff house.
One of our first major challenges in getting staff at Bamboo Lounge was that Lao people don’t tend to travel, at all, for anything. If they have a job they usually live next door or in a flat above their work place. To commute anywhere is virtually unheard of.
We consulted with Thong and he suggested renting a house in town for staff who live further than a few minutes away to live in.
The search for a rental house took months – there is no newspaper or TV station here, and no real estate office, and so our only ways of searching were
a) we put an add on the town ‘radio’ (loudspeakers that broadcast at 6am and 6pm each day)
b) we asked around and hoped that word of mouth would spread and we might be able to find a landlord willing to rent to us
c) we drove around the town and looked for ‘for rent’ signs on the front fence of any houses.
In the end word of mouth plus chance was our successful method. We heard of someone moving out of their house and so quickly made sure we were first in line to be the next tenants.
Koly, our restaurant manager was the first to move in and soon after Pim joined her. Koly’s brother Jalo moved in, too. They are our 3 youngest staff and also had the farthest to travel.
Both Koly and Jalo live over 2 1/2 hours away and have to walk the trip to their jungle village on their days off to help their familiy in the rice fields. They not only have the opportunity to work at Bamboo Lounge but they also are paying for a new house in their village for their family with their wages and are able to attend the larger schools in Luang Namtha. Koly is studying business management at the local University (she wants to have her own restaurant one day) and Jalo is still in high school. Without the staff house, none of this would have been possible.
We have also had Western volunteers consistently living at the house which has proven invaluable for the advancement of their English and for cultural immersion. The volunteers and staff spend their free time getting to know each other and hanging out in ways that neither ever imagined.
Keeping Bamboo Lounge open doesn’t just mean keeping the restaurant going, it means keeping our staff in their house in Luang Namtha so they can continue following their dreams.