June 11: Vietnam Friendship Village

From Isabel ’16 

This morning is our first morning with our host families. They are very welcoming and kind. This morning we traveled to the Vietnam Friendship Village. There they help kids who are still affected by Agent Orange (AO) (most are third and some are fourth generation AO victims). They also care for Vietnam vets who need medical attention. The vets stay there for two months at a time. We visited the kids’ classrooms where some classes taught the more abled students skills to help them learn a trade and earn money. We saw children sewing, embroidering, making decorative flowers. The embroidered tapestries were beautiful with much detail and precision. When we visited the classrooms, the kids were happy to see us. One of the girls was especially happy when we took her picture.

After our classroom visit, we weeded a few sidewalks. I don’t think I have ever been that sweaty. We spent almost two hours weeding in the intense heat, but with so many of us, we accomplished a lot. After this, we went out to lunch at a restaurant where we had been two days ago. We were served many, many courses. One of them was chicken with rice noodles. When we returned from lunch we met with the veterans of the Friendship Village. They were excited to see us. Some of them were surprised to see how tall we were.

We then began to clean the empty rooms. Old men are not the cleanest people! There was also a HUGE spider in one of the rooms and the very fierce woman in charge took the huge spider in her bare hands and threw it outside. Everyone in the group was too scared to return to the room. After a long day cleaning and weeding, we returned to our host families on our bus. 

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