This morning I had the opportunity to do something a little different as Kathy, Tamara and I had offered to go and help prepare lunch at the Buddhist pagoda about 10 minutes away from the centre in Ba Vi. We were escorted there by Hoai and introduced to a couple of the beautiful VIVPS ladies and Su Co who is the residing monk. Our attempt to help out with the cooking was somewhat comedic as none of us possessed the skills or knowledge to properly create the delicious meals and so we were assigned with sorting and picking the herbs and then undergoing the lengthy process of washing them by the bucket load. We did attempt the chopping of some vegetables but we quickly had the knives taken off us (with a friendly smile of course)- the ones we did get to were definitely recognisable in the salads, looking quite out of shape in comparison. The VIVPS ladies were extremely friendly and we chatted to them as we organised the food and attempted to learn a little more of their language. The three of us did get an opportunity and some free time to explore the rest of the pagoda, which was a seriously picturesque structure and we were overly excited to find the resident kitten, puppy and a heap of tiny frogs. Surprisingly, we even grew to like the song that played repeatedly over the speakers for the four hours we were there. :)Our final task that we were assigned with was to wash the floor outside, which involved pouring large volumes of water onto the tiles and sweeping it with bamboo brooms until it poured off the side of the deck. It was really lovely to spend time with the volunteers and the monk before the rest of the group arrived, as it made the stories that they shared with us even more touching and I truly gained a sense and appreciation of just how strong and brave these women are.
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