June 17: Mai Chau

From Matt

Today was the start to our three days of service in Mai Chau. We began our day with a fantastic Vietnamese breakfast of bread (French bread), jam, and eggs. At 8:30, we started working near the community center (where GS groups have done much service over the past four years). At first, we were clearing out bricks and shoveling dirt. We also picked up the soccer fields behind the center. Next we cleared out the space under the house, moving bags of cement to a shed and generally rearranging everything in preparation for laying a new floor/patio for the center. We also shoveled gravel into wheelbarrows to be spread out for the foundation of the patio.

We broke for lunch at 11:20. Lunch was great and fresh as usual. There was a very delicate fried fish (from the host family’s pond) as well as other tasty dishes. We always have two vegetable dishes, too. After a short break, we all went off in different directions to do some local shopping in the little shops in this village and in the neighboring village. After shopping, we went to the community center where the job was to level huge piles of dumped dirt (from the construction of a house). Much of it was destined to go into a pond, but some of it was just to extend the land around the pond. It was tiring work but we eventually made progress.

After the work, I went to the “boy house” and showered. We all showered soon after returning to the hosts’ home. It felt great except that the humidity in the air kept me wet! Finally, we had a fantastic dinner of rice, chicken, home-made fries, fried beef rolls, and vegetables. Mangoes for dessert!

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