Reflections on Day 2

Today we are pros! With yesterday’s practice sessions and several trials & errors, we managed to complete painting 90% of our classrooms!  The plan is to complete the final touches of the 7 classrooms in 3 days, in time for the robotics and clinic sessions of the work camp.  

Surviving our daily 2-hour/one way commute to the school site, without instructions, we each grabbed brushes and paint buckets and tackled our own personal spot. Our carefully planned teams (Sun, Earth, Water, Leaves…) were dispersed and blended as the kids regrouped organically into their own sub-teams. Abby with Zoe and Katie, Zak with Jonathan and Tin, to name a few…Without complaints, everyone worked diligently into the morning, braved the intense heat and the jungle-like humidity.

To break the day, the local ladies prepared another delicious meal. Unlike yesterday’s traditional bún bò Huê’, today’s lunch was curry beef with tiny baguettes and the deconstructed nem nuong…grilled herbed beef on a stick wrapped with local, organic herbs, in crunchy special rice paper.  The big ending was chè, sweet beans topped with a nice layer of rich coconut milk and shaved ice.  

Post-lunch break (Photo: Stephanie Nguyen)

Post-lunch break (Photo: Stephanie Nguyen)

A few of us took a quiet mini nap after lunch, making a temporary make shift bed on the cool tiled floor strategically under the fan. A few kids gathered into a room playing card games, laughing and screaming as they tried to beat each other.  A few diligent volunteers resumed to finish up their painting.

The biggest treat of the day was the walk to visit to the nearby neighbors.  Chi KT took the group to visit two families, an elderly couple in their 80s and a single mom whose husband had died of cancer. Her two teens were sent to a bigger town to work while the little 6 years old stayed with her. We gifted rice, nuoc mam, and an invite for their little ones to visit the school.  Our kids took turns practicing their broken Vietnamese with one of the little girl.  Some taught her to shook hands. Some taught her to high five, which she giggled as she tried to make contact without laughing.

Stephanie’s son, Zak Pham, sharing candy with a local girl. (Photo: Stephanie Nguyen)

Stephanie’s son, Zak Pham, sharing candy with a local girl. (Photo: Stephanie Nguyen)

Although today’s experience may seem small, I think it left a major social impact on our kids, as they were all laughing while walking back to the school site.

Heading back to the workcamp after visiting local families (Photo: Stephanie Nguyen)

Heading back to the workcamp after visiting local families (Photo: Stephanie Nguyen)

Cindy Au