Friday, September 25, 2015

Hello Hoi An

We have been in Hoi An, our "home away from home", for a week! After a couple of days to acclimatize we were immediately immersed in our work with Reaching Out Vietnam.

The first task has been to work with a team of very skookum young folks in tackling the design of a new website. Two design consultants from Singapore were here. We had met Bryan in Singapore where he treated us to a fabulous dinner in the Botanical Garden. We enjoyed great food and the respite of a quiet green sanctuary in the midst of all the frenetic Singapore traffic and the mayhem of 4.5 million people on a tiny island.

Travelling to Vietnam from Singapore was an all day event as we set out from our hotel at 9:30 am and arrived in Da Nang at 7:30 pm ...two flights with a three hour layover in Ho Chi Minh City, where the time passed pleasantly enough as three friends made a special trip out to the airport to have a coffee with us.  We will see Anh again in a few weeks when we link up with the TOP, Tours of Peace Vietnam group.

Although tired, our spirits picked up when we saw our welcoming committee at the Da Nang airport. Sesame is now 11 years old and is almost a tall as his mother, Quyen.

Once home at An Bang beach we set up our offices....any place that was cool and had Internet access. It took us a few days to figure out that the old fashioned modem at our house required a cable which a previous tenant had probably stashed in his/her suitcase. Several days we had to sit in a beach side bistro. What a hardship!

The work on the website was quite overwhelming for us. We were drowning in technological waters with new lingo and magic tricks. But there was no catching up for us, so we took on the task of writing the content. Should be an easy job for two writers, right? But not so...the script needs to be appropriately heartfelt to capture the essence of this social enterprise and yet be clean, crisp and short to appeal to screen readers. Quite a challenge for these two old, verbose story tellers.

This is the office at Binh and Quyen's house and this is how a meeting happens in communication!!!

 The food on Quyen's table is plentiful, frequent and delicious. We never know what delicacy will appear on the table or when!

Dim Sum and moon cakes 

Banh beo

Fried squid

The next five weeks will be rewardingly busy. We will work with Children's Education Foundation for a couple of days, see Thanhhuynh Huynh to deliver funds for schools for the poor in remote mountain villages, work with VAVA on the micro loan program and scurry around preparing gifts, with Quyen's help, for the humanitarian work with TOP. And of course continue with the variety of tasks which crop up with Reaching Out. A need for some staff training seems to be looming!

We are well and ants, searing heat, plugged shower drains, language problems (still after all these years!), beeping, swirling, crazy motor bike drivers and loud wedding music in the neighbourhood aside.

Let us know how you are dear friends and please share our blog on Facebook. We could use a few more "likes"

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