A Trip to Vietnam

Walking in their shoes.

The motorbikes, the hooting of horns, people trying to cross the road, the sound of the radio reading the news, echoing through the streets. This is the “hustle and bustle” of Vietnam, and this is one of the many beauties of the place.

Coming from a country where there’s hardly a sound, Vietnam was certainly a different experience. Walking past local men and women approaching you to buy a fan…or five, while taking in the vibrant sounds and smells. I am once again reminded of the feelings I had while I was there. I felt excitement and anticipation.

When we arrived at the disability center in Ba Vi. The center is divided into six rooms, with the children arranged by size and type of condition. I start making my way to rooms 3 and 4. These children are bigger than those in 1 and 2 and they sit in their chairs most of the time.

That picture on the right? His name is Grasshopper, and he loves going for walks.

Watching him put one little foot in front of the other and holding onto my hand carefully so he doesn’t stumble, allowed me to reflect on the work our volunteers are doing. One step at a time. One volunteer after another. Over a long period of time, I’m confident that Grasshopper will be able to walk on his own and that he will have enough strength to be fully mobile. But without the help of volunteers focusing their time and energy on him, he would not be able to walk at all.

It’s easy to come into a new country with our own point of view and make up our mind about what the locals need. Some may then come in and pity, but I have learned that it is more that they are the ones who teach us. Both the children and the volunteers. Every day I went to the center there is always a positive spirit. It’s a community.

There is one volunteer I met while I was there. She volunteered with GVN in Vietnam last year, and when I met her in Ba Vi, she had returned to volunteer again, although this time bringing her entire family with her! There was obviously something that had a major impact on her, and when I spoke with her sister, she spoke about how she wants to return again and bring her friend along with her! I cannot think of a better example to explain the Ripple Effect our founder, Colin Salisbury, talks about. It is the value of a volunteer which extends far beyond their 2 week time in-country.

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