This blog is about my “how I spent my summer holiday”. A year ago, I started teaching accounting full-time at CNA-Qatar. This is my first summer off and I knew I would have to fill it with either course work or volunteering. I decided volunteering was the best choice and AfID made it easy to find the right organization, location and length of time. A big thank you to the staff at AfID for their hard work.

What have I been up to this week? Exploring Vientiane’s textile workshops and stores and creating a multiple data source pivot table. To get around I’ve been offered the use of a scooter. I’ve never driven a scooter and I don’t think the city is the place learn, plus I like to walk. Yes, it’s hot and humid, but I carry my umbrella for shade and I’m good a finding a cool places to grab an iced coffee or water. If it rains I get a tuk-tuk. As for crossing the roads it is nowhere near a dangerous as in Hanoi, Vietnam. I follow the rules from primary school, look all ways, cross when safe to do so, and don’t expect cars to stop.

I have managed to safely navigate the streets and have found some beautiful textile shops that sell hand woven and embroidered items. The handwoven silk is beautiful in the bright rich colors. The embroidery on many of the items is amazing and ranges from traditional geometric patterns to delicate detail. I haven’t found a favorite item, but my favorite shops are Herwork and Camacrafts.  The shops are located on the same street in Vientiane.

Where do pivot tables come into this? Part of my work with ADWLE is to help to create a cash flow management system. My favorite tool for creating reports  is a pivot table. I did get a little too excited when I discovered how to create a pivot table using multiple Excel sheets (multiple data sources). To get the pivot table to work only small changes to the data sources had to be made.

This weekend I am heading off to Luang Prabang, 340 KM north of Vientiane to do a natural skill dyeing and weaving workshop at Ock Pop Tok Living Craft Center.

2 thoughts on “Exploring textiles and pivot tables”

  1. Wow Colleen. You are really going for it! Your volunteer work sounds amazing, and I am sure quite difficult. Learning about situations of exploitation and violence against women is not easy. How amazing you have an entire summer off. Keep going! You are doing great!

    1. Thanks Susan! This experience as been eye opening as to the lack of basic rights for women and support systems.

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