Monday, January 29, 2007

Trip Report from Pham Van Nam

l have worked in two Project Vietnam medical missions, to Hai Duong and to Vinh.
l really love Project Vietnam because the
people in the project are very friendly and very easy
going, every time l made a lot of good friends and I
have a chance to work with children. Before l joined
the project l didn't know that l love children and l love
playing with them. They are so cute to me.
This time we went to Vinh by an impressive sleeper
overnight train. There were six very narrow
beds in the rooms. l couldn`t sleep all
that night because the train stopped and pulled the horn
in every station. Finally l just dozed but the train
suddenly stopped again when it arrived in Vinh, so l had
to wake up and clean up to leave, even i was very tired and
very sleepy. Then we get on the buses and came to Kim
Lien Hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, I had to line up for the key
because we have a lot of people. Finally l got the key and
I went to the room and without knowing my roommate
l leaped on the bed and fell asleep. l was fast asleep
from 7 am until 3 pm then l take a walked around Vinh with
some friends l know from project.
Then the next day we went to school to work at 7AM.
We came to school at the time the children are studying
so i l walked around the classes to say hi to them and
then we prepared to work. l worked with the survey so l
had to ask a lot of questions like what kind of food
do you eat and what do you drink? This work made my throat very dry but
l was very happy to do it. To work with children, it makes
me feel very happy and when we have a break from work, we play with
them. It's amazing that all of kids like me, and the
other volunteers are very funny and kind. They love to play
with the kids too. After six days
working around the schools in Vinh we came back to Hanoi.
Some of the volunteers went for holiday then. On the next
day we had a goodbye dinner at a very very nice
restaurant. It was very very happy then because we
could see each other again, and very very sad then because
after that we will say goodbye. After dinner we said
goodbye to some people and some people including me
went out antil 2 AM, then we said goodbye and then l
went home and took a long sleep again.

I am looking forward to working with everyone again in March when we travel to the Mekong Delta.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

return to Hoa Binh

Project Vietnam volunteer Pham Van Nam and I recently visited our friend Ha Minh Quan in rural Hoa Binh Province. He's the young man with the deteriorating eyesight, the result of undetected and untreated rheumatoid arthritis. His condition has gotten worse, and his eyesight is now severely limited. The weather in Hoa Binh last week was very cold, in the low fifties and very humid. Quan had no shoes, socks, or gloves to warm his cold and aching extremities. We bought him a few things, of course, but his family's long-term prospects are bleak indeed. Quan's mother never asks for anything, but always gratefully and graciously accepts the small amount of money we periodically provide. She always uses the money carefully, and recently bought a partial share in a water buffalo which lives next to their home! This is not a case of simply throwing cash at a problem, Quan's mother uses the money wisely and never expects a "handout." As we make preparations for our next Medical Mission, we should keep Quan in mind. Anyone visiting the Hanoi area who would like to make the journey to visit Quan, please let me know and we'll make the arrangements! The family (and the local Muong kids) are always happy to see visitors.

The pictures attached here show Nam with Quan; the road leading to Quan's house; the house itself; the new water buffalo; and the local kids who were quite excited to see a foreigner. We taught them how to play "Simon Says!"

Jim Brennan