Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Friend Phonesay

When I first traveled to Nong Khai Thailand in 2001 I was working with an Australian teacher who ran a web site and sort of travel agency on the side. He made a few bookings for me and introduced me to his friend Phonesay Silivan, a monk residing in a Thai monastary but originally from the mountains of Laos. We became fast friends and Phonesay accompanied me on many trips across the river into Vientiane, Laos and all around Issan, the Northeast province of Thailand where I was visiting silk weaving villages. He speaks Loatian, Thai and English which he pretty much taught himself. On one trip he took me to his University in Nong Khai where he was supposedly learning English from a teacher who did not speak it nor did he use it in class. His father died when he was very young and his mother remarried. She had twelve more children. His stepfather didn't want him so he was raised by his grandparents. The only way he could acquire an education was to become a monk. I would take him to a restaurant to eat lunch when we were out touring (which had to be before 11 am...monks can't eat after that) and the first one I took him to was the second restaurant he had eaten in in his life. During this period he was able to pass back and forth freely between Laos and Thailand and lived in monastaries in both countries.

About three years ago (after 10 years as a monk) he decided to return to private life. He wanted to live in Thailand but couldn't get permission. At first he worked as a travel guide in Vientiane and then went to work for an NGO which was clearing away land mines as a translator . He was making $200 a month which is an excellent salary in Laos. It enabled him to buy a motor scooter, a computer and some land outside of Vientiane where he hopes to open a college someday (which actually is quite possible in Laos)

Late last year he married a girl he met in one of the villages where his agency was clearing land mines. She is half Vietnamese.
And tonight i received a photo of his beautiful new daughter. I hope to see him in January when I return to Vientiane. He is talking now about opening his own travel agency.

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