© 2014 www.esther-news.de - Impressum

Esther News

to all visitors of this homepage! What you will find here are various reports, pictures and short video clips which I uploaded in order to provide information for everyone who is interested in my work and life. There is also some general information available about the countries where I have worked and some explanations about childhood malnutrition.



During my nearly 2,5 years in Kumi District in Uganda from 2005 to 2007, I realized that I would like to work long term in developing countries. I believe that it is possible to acchieve sustainable improvements in living conditions and quality of life through long-term projects that focus on capacity building and ownership of the local population. One of my major interests is the area of childhood malnutrition because I believe that it is the cornerstone for the further development of the individual and therefore of the whole population.   


Enjoy reading the following pages and feel free to contact me if you have any question!



A warm welcome...


News


4th February 2016

I wish everyone a blessed and happy New Year 2016!

For almost 2 months I am now back in Germany. It takes time to re-adapt but I am slowly getting used again to the new/old life. I am currently staying with my family in Hamburg but I started already looking for an appartment in Stuttgart where I will start working in May. My new mobile phone number in Germany is: 0157 - 31076227.



19th December 2015

How time flies! 6 years in Laos have gone by. One week ago I arrived back in Germany now trying to adapt slowely to the new life.

Here a small Christmas greeting card: Christmas greeting 2015



2th August 2015

It’s rainy season again, it started a bit late this year but now it’s there. It will be the last rainy season for me - it feels a bit awkward when I think about it but I will surely not miss these dark, hot and humid days.

In the last months we were able to start some interesting trials: among others we did 2 model gardens for rice cultivation where we test different techniques that are supposed to increase the rice harvest. We also received a new fortified energy bar for treating our malnourished children. All this keeps us busy during this usually rather boring time of the year and we excited to see the outcomes of the trials…


28th August 2015

My return flight to Germany is booked: I will arrive in Hamburg on 10th December!!


8th March 2015

New pictures are online!


17th January 2015

A happy and blessed New Year to all readers of this page! After a short surprise visit for Christmas in Germany I am now back in Attapeu. My plan is to stay for one more year here in Attapeu and then move back to Germany.

The project is still running well: we managed to complete one new gravity-fed watersystem, built more than 100 toilets, started several cow banks with poor model families and worked on improved vegetable gardens. Also the genereal hygiene in our project villages is improving step by step. But nevertheless, there is still a lot to do and already in March this year we will reach half-time of the 3-year project.


25th October 2014

It was a long and difficult process, but now we finally managed to handover our first 4 bio-sand waterfilters to the model families in one of our project villages. It will take another 3 weeks for the so-called „bio-layer“ to develop but then the families will have clean and safe drinking water day by day for many years without having to boil it!


6th September 2014

2 weeks holiday in Myanmar! It was very good to get away from all the project stress  and change the ideas for some time!

Otherwise, this rainy season appears to be not as quiet as expected. This is mainly because we selected for this second phase of the project also some villages nearby Attapeu and those are accessible all the year round. Therefore we continue going to the villages nearly every week.


10th July 2014

After a very, very busy dry season it is now becoming a bit more quiet. We managed to achieve a lot in this last half year: we did the baseline survey, started teaching the volunteers in all project villages, distributed dewormer, planted more than 1100 fruit tree seedlings, distributed more than 700 kg improved rice seeds to model families, built more than 175 toilets, one gravity-fed water system and 8 boreholes with handpumps and many other things. Now it is time for a rest and some office work until the rain has settled down we the villages become accessible again.


20th February 2014

After long time I managed to upload some new pictures!


27th October 2013

After 3 times of flooding in Attapeu we were finally able to officially open our new project phase on October 15th. After that we directly started our first project activities in the new villages. Most probably we will be out in the villages every week from now until Christmas. As last time, we again start by doing a PRA (participatory rural appraisal) in all villages before we go forward in planning specific activities for each village. It’s going to be exciting and busy time!


25th July 2013

Here you can find some results of the first phase of our Community Health Development Project.


25th July 2013

Furlough!!! I will be in Germany from 19th July until 9th September. I am looking forward to enjoy the long summer evenings and of course to meet all my friends and family!


13th June 2013

This week we did our last trip to the villages - for this project phase. Now we can take a rest until October. However, it is not really a rest but just a time without going to the villages. It is time to do the analysis of the last health survey and to write final project reports. On July 10th we will have a big final project evaluation with the Ministry of Health and then we will need to start thinking about a more detailed planning for the new project phase. But before we start afresh I will first go for a furlough to Germany. The flights are already booked: July 18th until September 10th. I am so much looking forward to seeing everybody again!!


3rd March 2013

The nice and comfortable Lao winter is already past. Daily temperatures are increasing more and more and even now it is already 36 degree in my home - this is even for me too much! Otherwise, there is some good news: our project proposal for the second phase was finally signed by the governour and the health department of the province. Remains only the signature of the ministry of health. And also the application for funding is in work and everything looks quite good. At the same time the activities continue in full speed. The last water system is being built, the last toilets and also the last teachings. Everything has to be completed before the beginning of the rainy season.



A happy and blessed new year 2013 to everyone!


31st December 2012

We closed the office between Christmas and New Year so that I have one full week of holiday. This rest was really needed after a lot of work and stress during the last weeks. But the water system with the electric pump is completed and working well. Also the first part of the health survey is done, but we are still waiting for the project proposal for the new phase from August 2013 on to pass. We hope to get the signature of the provincial government in January so that we can go one step further and bring it to the Ministry.



30th November 2012

3 weeks with different visitors from Switzerland, Germany and France. This was a nice time! Now back to normal schedule. We are currently working on one water system and for the first time we are using electricity for it, because the village was connected few months ago. Soon we will also start doing our endline health survey and I am very excited to see the results.



28th October 2012

No rain since 3 weeks and the mud on the roads has become dust. We can now reach again 4 of our 9 project villages while the others are still cut off my several big rivers. This week we will send our project proposal for the next phase to the local authorities. Hopefully it will pass without too many problems and changes!


24th September 2012

We distributed 18 piglets to 9 model families. The families had to prove that they follow a list for hygiene and disease prevention and they have to build a stable for the pigs according to our teachings. If they manage everything they will be announced as model family and receive 2 piglets. We hope that other families in the villages will learn from it so that the positive effect multiplies by itself. We are exited to see how it will out!


25th August 2012

New picutres are online!


3rd July 2012

Today my french colleagues left Laos - for good. It’s a bit funny feeling to remain here alone…


11th April 2012

After 2 months of hard work we finally finished our first gravity-fed water system! Instead of fetching water all the way long from the river, the villagers can now get as much water as they want at 5 tabs directly within the village. What an improvement, i.e. for the kids and women who are usually responsible for fetching water!


     4th March 2012

We employed 2 new local staff for our community team: one driver /mechanic and one agronomist! This means that the work can now again be distrbuted to more people which allows the team (and myself) to  


18th February 2012

New pictures are online!


06th January 2011

I wish everyone a happy new year 2012!

My time in Germany is already nearly over. I had a very nice time with a lot of opportunities to meet friends and revive old relationships.

I would like to thank everyone for your interest, for all the presents I received and also for the time you spent with me. I really enjoyed and appreciated it!

In Laos the dry season has now started and the work is already waiting for my return. During the coming weeks and months we will be very busy, but I am looking forward to go back. I am missing the people, the work and my home.



25th November 2011

I arrived safe and (nearly) without problems back in Germany and am now enjoying the first days here together with my family. During the coming weeks, I will be available under the following mobile phone number: 0176 - 495 256 50.

The planning for the coming weeks is as follows:

23rd November - 1st December: Hamburg

2nd - 7th December: Paderborn

8th - 13th December: Montbéliard, Frankreich

14th - 20th December: Osterode / Herzberg

21st December - 10th January: Hamburg



12th November 2011

Holiday in Germany: from 23rd November until 10th January I will be in Germany!


Otherwise the rainy season finally ended. We have now again lots of sun but relatively cool temperatures (around 25°C). I think, it is now the best and most comfortable time of the year in Laos. The Project ist still doing fine, but since October we are forced to work without a medical doctor in the team. This makes a number of things a bit difficult. Since 4 months we are already looking intensively for a  new staff but up to now no suitable applicant. Therefore it will be a bit difficult when I come to Germany for nearly 2 months, but after nearly 2 years here in Laos, it is really time for a visit at home!



11th September 2011

2 new videos are online!


It is still rainy season in Laos. Instead of calming down it rather feels that it rains more and more in the moment.

Many roads are alredy completely destroyed because of the heavy rains. We can still reach 3 of our villages in the moment, but sometimes only with major efforts. Nevertheless we try to realise inspite of the bad weather our reduced rainy season program. But on the other side we are enjoing a lot to have time together with the team, playing UNO or petanque, eating together and learning Engilsh.



7th August 2011

New pictures are online!


28thJuly 2011

Rainy season... it is raining a lot, but most of the time not as heavy as during the first weeks. Nevertheless, the humidity is very high. Clothes are only drying under the ventilator and in the garden you can literally watch the grass growing.

Regarding work it is now much more quiet. All the staff are taking part of their hoildays during this period and also my french colleages are on home leave for 2 months. So, we are using the time to catch up with some desk work and planning for the coming months while aiting for the road to dry up again.



12th June 2011

Last week we officially handed over our first health center to the people from Saydonkong village and the government. The construction process took 4 months and a lot of efforts. But the result is really convincing!

Otherwise, the rainy season started very early this year. Therefore we had a lot of problems during the last weeks while going to the villages. Most of the roads have now turned in small (or big) rivers and huge mud puddles. But fortunately up to now the problems were all not very serious. We only have still 2 weeks to go, before we will take a rest (work in the offince instead of going to the villages) for a bit more than a month. The team and myself are really looking forward to this time of rest which we really need after this very busy last half year.


1st May 2011

New pictures are online (sorry, not yet translated!)


18th April 2011

A happy new year to all readers of this page! Why again? Because last week we were celebrating here in Laos the Lao new year. According to Lao tradition people are pouring water over each other. The whole week long and then there is a lot of beer and dance. The Lao really know how to celebrate!! :-)


10th February 2011

The Lao winter is about to end. It is getting hotter and already now the soil is drying up. In the moment we are nearly every week in the villlages, because the dry season is only 6 months and we have to make the best possible use of it.

This week we are beginning with the construction of our first dispensary. It is quite a big thing, especially when considering the poor conditions and long distances of the roads. It will be not easy to bring all the building material there. We will see if and how it works... Encouriging is that the local population is highly motivated and promised us to help as much as possible with the construction.

At the same time the health education in all the other villages needs to continue and I started looking for one new employee. Someone who knows about agriculture and can help in the construction work at the same time. I will start doing interview in March. I hope we will find someone suiteable soon...


15th January 2011

A happy new year to the readers of this website!!


12th December 2010

Is it true that there will be christmas in 2 weeks time?? If there wasn’t this advent calendar from a good friend here on my table, I might have not noticed it yet :-).

In Laos it is now also the cold season, but still temperatures are going up to 25-30 degree during daytime. It doesn’t really give any christmas atmosphere.

But the work is going on well. After the health survey we dewormed all 5 villages with mass treatment. It was not so easy to organise everything but we think that it will have a clear positive effect on the health of the population. And finally I was very happy to have my first 2 visitors from Germany! It was so nice to speak German again and to talk about things and life at home :-)


13th November 2010

New  pictures are online!


26th September 2010

Since 2 days I am now back in Attapeu. Finally! It was a good time in Vientiane and the language school helped me a lot, but now I am very much looking forward to stay again in my own home and concentrate fully on the work. After the language school I took one week holidays in the north of Laos. I spent some nice days there with a number of interesting encounters.

Tomorrow  I will start working again. The to-do-list is already long and the coming weeks are going to be very busy.

The nutrition situation here in Attapeu Province remains critical. It is raining, but not enough. The harvest will be not only very late, but also less than usual. Around 18% of all children here are currently suffering from acute malnutrition. And most probably it will become rather worse then better. Until now we are not yet sure what effect this will have for our project.


29. August 2010

New pictures are online!


8. August 2010

It is now  exactly half a year that I am in Laos. Time flies so fast, but I think, that I settled in quite well. Since 3 weeks I am now in Vientaine, visiting a language school. During the 5 months in Attapeu I learnt already a lot, but it is good to have now 2 month only for the language. The grammar of the Lao language is not so difficult but the tones make it rather complicated. Most words consist of only one syllable, but this syllable exist usually in 3 or 4 different tones with completly different meanings. A simple „ma“ e.g. can mean „horse, dog, come or soak“ or a „sao“ can mean „morning, rent, post, out of breath or sad. To recognise all this and to speak it during a normal conversation correctly is really not so easy!



13th July 2010

Instead of raining cats and dogs as it is supposed to be for this season, the last weeks here were very dry and hot. The water is by far not enough to start with the rice cultivation but nearly all the reserves are already used up. The price for rice at the market has nearly doubled. If it doesn’t start raining soon, we are soon going to face huge problems. But there are also good news: the government finally signed our 3-years project. Next week we will have the celebrations for that and it means that we can now go for the real working visa and start organising some other things. I will travel to Vientiane on Thurday and stay there 2 months for the language course. It will be a big difference again to the work and life here in Attapeu, but I am nevertheless looking forward to it.



25th June 2010

This week we did for the time being our last trip to the region of Sanamxay. The outward journey was not too bad, but while we were there, we had a heavy monsoon rain and this made a real adventure out of our trip back to Attpeu: twice we got stucked in the mud and could get out only by help of our winch. Lots of trees on the way and water up to the chest during one river crossing. It took us more than 2 hours for 30 km and then again 1 hour for another 50 km. This was clear enough: until December we will not be able to go again to the 5 villages in this region. For nearly half a year they will be cut of from the world. Hard to imagine how life will be for them during this time...



8th June 2010

There are new pictures and one first video online! Unfortunately there are some mistakes in the linking of the pages that I can’t manage to solve in the moment. So, please be patient when the pages don’t appear sometimes in the right way! :-(


30th April 2010

Once again back from one week in the Field. Tired and dirty, but healthy. This time we stayed several days in one village and started there with some activities to get a better understanding of the problems in their problems and to make a priority list. It was very interesting, but it remains with the problems that are obvious: insufficient water, no dispensary and no latrines are the 3 most important points for the popluation. But now the rain has started so that we have only some few weeks left to start working on the problems. This means that we can do only some health education now , while the bigger projects have to waint until next year.



5th April 2010

There are new picture online!


20th February 2010

Since 2 weeks I am now here in Attapeu. I got so many new impressions that I am not sure what to write first. I have made already several trips into the villages. It is very interesting. Many things are a bit similar to Africa, but there are also a lot of differences. In the moment I am just observing and trying to get an overview. But I think the project is going to be really interesting. Only that I need to learn Lao as fast as possible. There is nearly no one who speaks English or French. Even to find a relatively well paid translator is not so easy...


There are some first pictures from Laos!



5th February 2010

Yesterday around 1 p.m. (Lao time, in Germany it was 6 a.m.) I reached safe and tired in Vientiane. Everything went well with the flight and I even recieved already all my luggage. Now  I will stay for one more day in Vientiane before I take the night bus to Attapeu tomorrow evening. It is really hot and humid here, but I am nevertheless glad to have escaped the german winter.  Once I reached in Attapeu I will write some more details about my „first impressions“.


My new mobile phone number is: +856 20 4387947


29th  December 2009

I wish you all a happy new year 2010!

After a really good time in France,  I had now a wonderful Christmas celebration with my family in Hamburg. It was nice to see them all once more before my departure to Laos in about one month’s time.

In the moment I am packing my bags and there are some final things that need to be organised. I am a bit nervous, but also curious and I am really looking forward to get to know everything there.



22th November 2009

My time here in Montbéliard is now nearly over. My French has improved a lot which will be quite helpful for the work in the frenchspeaking team in Laos. Therefore I think that it was really worth it. The only problem is that I start mixing up English with French in the moment...


My time table for the next months is as follows:

18. December -  Journey home to Osterode.

4.-8. Januar - Preparation course I in Bad Honnef

10. Januar - YouthConference in Stuttgart

17. Januar - Farewell service in EFG Herzberg

18-22. Januar -  Preparation course II in Bad Honnef

31. Januar - Farewell service in EFG Paderborn

3. Februar - Departure from Frankfurt at 14:10

4. Februar -  Arrival in Vientiane at 12:55


Most welcome for the conference in Stuttgart and also for the farewell services in Herzberg and Paderborn! Please contact me for further details.


16. October 2009

It is now already 2 weeks that I am attending the French course in  Montbéliard in France. We are only 2 people in this course so that the class is quite intense and therefore possible to learn a lot within a short period of time.

Last Sunday we (my classmate and I) visited a Mennonite church here in Montbéliard. It was a lively service and the people were very hospitable. We also joined the church choir for the practice last Wednesday, which was also nice. I will attend this language school until the 17. December and be back in Germany for christmas and new year. A problem is only that I still didn`t have my colloquium for the master thesis, because a report from Sweden is missing. I hope that it will work out soon.



12. September 2009

My departure was moved to the beginning of February instead of March as it was planned before. This means that time flies by now and a lot of things still need to be organised before I can finally leave Germany. From 15-21 September I will attend a preparation course in Stuttgart and on the 4th October I will travel to Montbéliard in France where I will have my French course until Christmas. In January another 2 weeks for courses in Bad Honnef and then it will be time to leave!

Learning Lao language will have to wait until I am in the country. But I wonder if it is possible for a European to learn a language with 28 vocals and 5 different tones?!



16th August 2009

The decision has been made: I will go to Laos!!!  Last week I went once again to Stuttgart for discussing more details and the next steps. The new project is called „primary health community based project“. It aimes at improving the basic health care for people in a specific region in southern Laos. Everything seems to be quite interesting, but before I can depart, I will have to do some more preparation courses: French is essential, also at least an introduction to the Lao language as well as the governmental preparation courses for development aid workers. Therefore the final departure is planned to take place in March next year, but I will be employed by CFI already from October this year on.


My latest newletter is now available with more detailed information (but only in German)