Day 13, Second Day at Site

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For approximately the next two weeks, we will arrive at site around 8am, take an hour or two break at noon, and return to site to volunteer for another 3 hours. Everyday, we divide into two shift: one group will work with the village's children and the other will work on the compassion house. We alternate shifts in mornings and afternoons to give those who worked on the compassion house a rest for the rest of the day.


Today was our first day volunteering. In the morning, we attended a village ceremony welcoming the VHP group and introducing the couple receiving the home. Kacey Tran and Trung Nguyen represented VHP and made a speech to the community. Soon enough, we were ready to start volunteering!


The group working with the children today: Linh, Kabao, Maria, and Trung. We were greeted by Co Chin, a wonderful mid-aged local who offered her house for us to work with the children. For today, we bring the crayons and coloring book activities good enough for 30 or so children. Little did we know, that was NOT enough! There were about 40+ children packed inside the house! Mothers from the village stopped by and dropped off their children. They chatted with us, asking us where we are from and what activities we planned for the children. The children, varying in ages from little toddlers to 11 year olds, flooded into Co Chin's house to see what was happening. The children were small for their age, but they were chatty, open, and active. They were super excited when we pulled out the coloring books and didn't mind sharing the color books since there wasn't enough. The children spoke little English, but VHP members who couldn't speak Vietnamese still were able to interact and color with the children. Such artists we are in company of!


The other half of the group: Daniel, Kacey, Ray and Liya. They worked on the compassion house with 5 local men and a female construction worker. We helped create the cement used to brick-layer the house by mixing sand, cement, and water. Not an easy task! Mixing and churning under the hot sun was difficult, but with team work, we were able to complete the task. The construction workers were skilled and taught us how to brick-layer. It's simple really: just slap a layer of cement onto the brick, place it onto the existing layer, and repeat the process. Whenever we weren't cement mixing or brick-layering, we had to shuttle piles of bricks from the front of the house to where the construction site was. The work itself wasn't grueling, but the heat made it necessary to take breaks. 

The workers didn't know a lot of English and not all of the VHP group knew Vietnamese, so communication was mostly through hand gestures and demonstration. In the end, it was possible and we complete quite a large proportion of the work. We enjoyed lunch cooked by Co Chin, and at the end of the day, we crashed at the hotel and rested up for tomorrow's work!