I was driving to see some Reidville ladies in a nursing home and I came across this brightly colored building that did not seem to match the others in the neighborhood…..and then I saw the Buddha Statue and the monks and thought of my friend Claudia in Bhutan so I had to stop.
It is a Buddhist community originally from Laos. They are building a new temple “for everyone,” they tell me…like a church.
They have three monks and hope to get six more. The monks don’t speak English and I don’t speak Laotian so we just smiled and nodded and took each other’s pictures.
And then I was invited to eat……wow, it was so good. I didn’t know it was possible to make such authentic Asian cuisine in South Carolina…..”it is healthy too,” they tell me, “it won’t make you fat, like American food.”
While I was pleased to find this culturally different pocket in rural South Carolina, an area that is not used to change, I was not so sure that the neighbors would be as pleased. But, I was assured that everyone in the neighborhood had been really friendly and many have stopped by to see what they are doing.
Later that night, I was sharing my experience with some teachers at the Elementary School in Reidville and it turns out one of the teachers lives near the first temple they built. She told me soon after they moved into the neighborhood dogs started disappearing and one day a neighbor asked if she had seen the new cookbook, “101 Ways to Wok Your Dog.”