Project Vietnam Day 3 (completed)

July 3, 2008

Today was one of the first times we actually visited 15 May and played with the children, in many ways breathing fresh air into our project — giving us perspective and setting a human, personal face on kids for whose sake we had previously brainstormed and debated so extensively. So the task ahead of us was now increasingly tangible.

I shall tell the rest of the story in pictures 🙂

The morning workshops were introductory to Leadership basics — contextualizing leadership, conflict resolution etc. At this early stage where relationships were still fresh, new and untested, it was smiles and moments like this that gradually pulled the group together 🙂

The human knot game (Mov is actually cheating because he released KMu’s hand to take this picture). I think it was a crucial eye-opener for the mentees that in most cases standing still and giving blank looks isn’t always the best way to untangle a mess, especially messes that were brilliantly and astutely designed and further complicated by us remarkable mentors heh.

Chris and Annie tackling those giant omelette pancakes for lunch. Vietnamese cuisine does offer its fair bit of surprises, doesn’t it?

This picture is one of the many heart-warming snapshots of the 15 May kids that keep you going even when the road ahead is filled with obstacles beyond your control. That even rough street life and absent front teeth don’t dull their glow gives us an enduring inspiration that overcomes even the toughest language & cultural barriers.

Karla and George, ESL experts who came to cooperate with us on the English component. It was somewhat tricky to liaise with them at first given their entirely different approach to the various problems affecting the kids, but thankfully the rough start was more birth pains than a foreshadow of what was to come in our working with them. 

Nhung doing the hallmark Rongkun pose haha — I love spontaneous moments like this.

Chinese whispers (how racist hmph) — equivalent to the “passing the message” game. Statements like “I want to go the toilet” and “I have a pretty card” get twisted into the most horrific frightening ones. Ugh, my innocent, naive mind refuses to elaborate. *blushes and turns red*

Father-daughter-mother *sniggers* 
Azusa, Caroline and Mei at the vegetarian restaurant for dinner.

Personally, I was working in the computer lab/library once again, working on the cabling & networking and general computer maintenance. What remains a challenge is passing on our enthusiasm and passion over to the mentees to ensure sustainability of the project. Overall there was a general sense of fulfillment because the work we were doing was a mixture of the tangible and abstract — seeing a marked improvement in the functionality of the computer lab, and investing in human resources and having faith that the sowing will one day bring a hundred-fold harvest.

Much of what we aim to do here in Project Vietnam 2008 is a culmination of youthful idealism, the stuff of “changing the world”. Very often the pessimism within us cries out that our young passion and energy will be inadequate to achieve such sustainable impact, and that cry is indeed a realistic one. But we shall keep believing, that the little we do shall result in much. For if we aim for nothing, we shall achieve it; but if we indeed want to change the world, the world of the 15 May kids and our own world, we should never allow our dreams to remain in the realm of the possible.

Impossible is nothing 🙂

Cheers

– Matteus Pan

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One Response to “Project Vietnam Day 3 (completed)”

  1. Su said

    Mi…my friend!Tás de lado porquê?Mostra essa carota!I’m very happy for you!Kisses!!!Su

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