March 2, 2011

Looking back...

So, there is still much I haven't had energy to write about, of the trip to Vietnam. One moment, I would say was probably my highlight (though there really were so many), was visiting Ma Cha school, about 7 km from Sapa Rooms where we stayed.  We had the opportunity to go to this school with Pete, the owner of Six on Sixteen, and Sapa Rooms Boutique. We had planned, in advance, to help the school by donating school supplies, and anything that would help these children and their teachers, as well as paint a colourful mural on a bland yellow wall. We were told what to expect, but really, I don't think you could prepare yourselves for the conditions these kids were in. When we arrived, they were still in classes, with the exception of a few smaller children who hung around waiting for their elder sibling. School ended around 11am and Pete had brought along some bread and sweet milk which the kids love on their bread. Now, I want to say, growing up I never needed for anything, wanted yes, but needed, never. Pete had told us that for some of these kids, the meal they get at school may be all they get in a day. I have never seen more appreciative, patient children, as I did that day. We were taking some pictures here and there, but for me, and probably most of us, this was more than taking pictures, we wanted to help. A few of us helped pass out the bread to the kids, who patiently waited in lines. And, after handing them the bread, they looked me in the eye and thanked me, rather than diving in. I think this took me back more than anything, and I have to admit I got a bit teary eyed, and still do thinking about it. They did not grab, they were quiet and patient and polite. It was unbelievable. I am not going to say I felt like an amazing person that day, but it did feel nice to help out in any way I could, but still, not going to pat myself on the back. Afterwards, setting up for the mural and interacting (as much as I could because of the language barrier) with the kids was so much fun. They were so happy we were there and loved watching us paint. I don't think I can describe exactly how it was, with words at least, but it was incredible. In the Sapa Rooms website:, there is more information regarding how people can help.

These are a few images I got when I was there. Sweetest kids, and the way they helped each other was amazing. The siblings really stay close to one another and look out for each other. Great experience!

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