Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

We traveled to the district of Hiep Duc yesterday with a Global Village Foundation team. Beyond the city of Hiep Duc and into the foothills, our destination was a tiny, isolated and very poor minority village. There are 54 different minority tribes in Vietnam, many still marginalized. The people often speak in their own dialect, can not read nor write and schooling for the children is spotty.

The journey itself was an adventure. As you can see the government is making efforts to improve road access, but for us it was a harrowing journey, with our bus often scraping its undercarriage on the deeply rutted road. At one point our progress was impeded by a stuck truck ahead, so we unloaded so that our men could help push the truck and so that our bus could get through with a lighter load.

 Posted by PicasaOur first stop was in the center of the village where we toured the village meeting house, wandered the roads and met the villagers. Although a GVF of volunteer youth from Singapore had spent time in the village our group, there to follow up on their project and offer health care advice and aid,was still a curiousity.

The guys added a few light standards and poles for basketball hoops in the square. A Vietnamese female doctor and Le Ly, our leader, delivered information about cleanliness and basic health. We then handed out goodie bags with the requisite shampoo and soap, and a new set of clothes.

Also pictured above are the old house and the new, which GVF built for a rural family, who are very poor.

Our last stop was at a small school building, where the local children are taught three days a week. The structure had been home for the Singapore students, then converted to a small classroom. We played with the kids, drew pictures, painted, exchanged a few words about our pictures of flowers, houses and birthday cakes. Of course the main attraction was the box of books, donated by Journeys of the Heart, through the Global Village foundation.

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