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Published: December 17th 2012
This was more than just an ordinary trip to Vietnam. Not for leisure, nor for backpacking, but to spread love and to appreciate the meaning of the word. Had the honour of leading an awesome team of individuals to a Youth Expedition Program (inspired by my India trip last June), this time to Ben Tre province, one of the comparatively poorer region in Vietnam. In fact, I was pretty caught up with planning of the program that I paid little attention to the traveling details in the lesser known region of Ben tre, but from my recollections, it was a bustling self-sustaining village-city on its own. We stayed in Hung Vuong Guesthouse near the city and had to take a bus, then a cart-on-motorbike to the primary school where we did teaching and concrete-paving of the school courtyard. Nhuan Phu Tan 1 primary school was the chosen one (lol) but it was really our pleasure to be in touch with the lovely kids and ever hospitable hosts and teachers. We had many memorabe memories and below is the excerpt of my reflection after the program...
An end to Project Love Vietnam, yet another chapter closed, leaving the journey to be
Kids having fun
Ever energetic, ever cheerful, ever mischievous
continued. An inspiring journey for me, and hopefully for all involved, something that was, is, and will continue to be very close to my heart. 14 days of living together, eating together, travelling together, cooking together, teaching together, joking together, singing together, loving each other, chatting like there is no tomorrow, laughing like nobody else cares. An amazing 2 weeks, so long yet it felt like in a blink of an eye, the moments, and the moments within the moments have flashed passed, leaving behind vivid memories of Nhuan Phu Tan and all the people whom we have interacted and bumped into along the way.
Human connections were so genuinely real that when tears roll down the eyes when the time calls for parting, you know that yes, hearts have been touched. It was mutual. And that for myself at least, I have not felt such close emotional connections with people I barely knew before the trip, even with people who speak a different language as you, and all we can do is to converse mostly via body language and trying to speak in a foreign language. Maybe because we have been in, for too long, the fast paced
fruits of our labour
Kids playing on the concretised courtyard!
world, living like there is only work to live for, and not exactly learning how to live in the moment. Biggest take away for myself, is to just simply immerse myself into the heat of emotions, feel the warmth of the human connections and not be bothered too much about how events will turn out. All more so now, do I trust the process of things. Going through a series of emotions and feelings during the journey, I do feel loved and love within the whole team, and I’m sure everyone else does. We are all just an awesome bunch of people to live with, play with, enjoy with and immerse ourselves with. Definitely makes one feel so much togetherness, even when sometimes we're alone and feeling alone. Learning so much, growing so much as a person, learning so much more about yourself and others in the team, doing things and saying things out of the everyday ordinary life and we just keep growing and learning. I am also really glad that we have reached the stage of friendships where sharing is probably not much an issue anymore for the team. And that hopefully the friendships forged within stays for
the longest time. It doesn’t matter whether a good job is done for myself, or for the team. What’s the barometer of success anyway? What matters most, I guess, is how we feel, towards people, towards the sincere interactions, towards ourselves. And I dare say that we have achieved what we want to, every single one of us. Not mere physical goals but more so, intangible lessons taken from this trip more than anything else. It really feels comforting talking to people about this journey and getting pretty coherent (hopefully not politically correct!) replies about really simply learning more, as a person. Everyday is an opportunity to do so, and I have glad we all have taken the chance to.
Lots of emotions enveloping myself when the whole thing was about to end. I never knew I cared SO much for this. Tears are probably an understatement to the feelings within. So much so much I want to say, and there’s only so much I can say to so many people within the limited time. I just want to acknowledge everyone, every single one. A simple sincere Thank You from your friend here 😊
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