With American host family and The Clark Fork Coalition, Connecting Rivers and Communities

By: Chintanaphone Keovichith (Laos)

The Sun is shining, the Wind is blowing, and Flowers are Smelling

May 4th, today is 2nd week that I and my friends YSEALI Professional Fellows Program stay here in the nice town name Missoula, Montana. The weather here is so nice and people are very kind and humble. We had many exciting activities such as: first Friday for Art walk along the Missoula town, visit Missoula’s markets, and Missoula Community Theater.

I am from Laos and Mr. Mey Phalla is from Cambodia, we are all the same organization host at The Clark Fork Coalition. Barbara is a very nice fellow coordinator here, she works so hard to set up a beautiful schedule for us, many exciting activities are waiting for us as field visit, sharing experience with other staffs and volunteer work. We can share and learn a lot from this activity.

The Clark Fork Coalition works to protect and restore the Clark Fork River basin, a 14-million-acre watershed draining over 28,000 miles of rivers and streams in Western Montana and northern Idaho. They do so many advocacies in different level, fund raising and volunteer activity. They have three complementary strategies: protect clean water, restore degraded waterways and engage people in the critical work of caring for their rivers.

“Clean water and healthy rivers”

The extremely exciting thing, i have a good chance to stay with lovely family, Ms. Christine “Chris” Brick. They are both scientists. Chris is a colleague of Barbara’s – she is an environmental scientist at the Clark Fork Coalition. Steve is retired from the University of Montana, where he worked as geology.

The first thing that I really surprise, there are many “deer” live in our yard. It looks like as I am visiting the Zoo. I can see that, the daily life of the people here are really related to the natural resources and they are so fertility.

After that, Chris also introduces me to her neighbors and walk around a yard and garden, she plants many kinds of herbs, vegetables and fruit trees. An apple trees are flowering, plenty of the pink white flowers. It is a wonderful to live here, our house is surrounded by the mountains and also has a creek, and it looks like a painting picture in a nice frame.

It is a good experience to stay with American host family because we can learn their culture, way of life, and it is a good opportunity to share our culture to them also. It will help us to get to know each other more from people to people, family to family, community to community and country to country. We can have a connection and networking among Southeast Asian countries, and between ASEAN and United State of America.

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