Brick by Brick

by Kory Ngo


Hi, my name is Kory Ngo. This is my 3rd work camp and by far the best one in terms of weather and food. So far, everyday I’ve either climbed on scaffolding to touch up the walls or helped short people with not-so-short tasks. However, I spent today learning new things, such as the art of cement making and the humbling acceptance of the fact that a petite Vietnamese construction lady was stronger than both Don and I.

As the 3rd day of work camp started, there was no time to be wasted so I went straight to work. First, Ethan and I had to move nearly 200 bricks to the area where the playground was being constructed. From there, Bác Tuán taught us how to make cement and also the way we should lay down the bricks. So as we were building the wall, we quickly realized it was much harder than it looked. We continued to work for 2 hours or so laying brick after brick, insult after insult from the Vietnamese workers saying how uneven our wall was. Though we were terrible in every aspect of constructing the wall, it was a very cool and interesting experience.


After lunch, I took a quick break and kicked the soccer ball around with a few locals and work camp members, but after a brief moment of relaxation, Don and I were called over to a huge pile of 50 kilogram cement bags with the task of moving all of them 20 feet to get them out the way of the big trucks. As Don and I were struggling with each and every bag, this Vietnamese construction lady nearly a head shorter than both Don and I picked the bag up with ease. We then stared at each other after watching her completely embarrass us. We just had to accept it, she was stronger than both of us combined.

The long day really did wear me out, and I just felt so tired, but at the same time I felt very satisfied with all the things I had done to help the local kids that were to attend this brand new elementary school. As I am laying in bed right now sore and sunburnt from today’s work, I just feel so good about the impact Sunflower Mission has made on the kids of Vietnam. Not only has it made a big impact on the kids, it impacted me in such great ways and in all taught me to be a more grateful person and helped me learn to just enjoy life more in general. I am so excited for the rest of the work camp and many more to come!

Dan Q. Dao