April 6-20, 2016

Straight from Vietnam-Blog Posts Days 1-8

Day One/Two

As we sat and waited for our flight, the tension, anxiousness and excitement began to grow. In a day, we would begin our adventure in Vietnam. The flight to Seoul was very long, which gave everyone a long time to rest before we began the 14 hour switch/ time difference between Seattle and Ho Chi Minh. Throughout the flight we were provided with several meals and snacks, which to our amazement were pretty tasty. Upon our arrival in Seoul, we had a very short time to get through security and to our departing flight. Fortunately, we arrived just as boarding was about to begin. On the 5 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh most TSC students slept all or most of the plane ride. The touchdown in Vietnam was smooth and to every one's surprise, we passed through security with no questions and no unpacking of the laptops. We then went to the Blue River Hotel to spend the night.

-Daniella Melegh

Day Three

First full day in Vietnam, after a good small breakfast provided by the hotel on the second floor patio, groups split off with chaperones to briefly explore the city before the planned market trip later. Many of us stopped at one of the many knock-off sunglasses vendors and bought some cheap shades. I managed to buy some genuine ‘Roy Ben”s from a street vendor, so that was fun…. After exchanging money at the bank and learning to ignore the many hassling street peddlers, we all grouped up and went to the famous market. Following a gauntlet of smells and sounds on the walk over, we arrived at the massive covered market. We all learned to haggle as purchases of everything from clothing to lighters to china were made. Walking back with our wallets lighter and backpacks heavier, we stopped to get ice cream outside the hotel, a sweet treat for a long bus ride. Games and laughter kept us awake as the bus rolled through countryside well into the evening. The exhausted group was treated to a quick dinner from the hotel staff before choosing rooms and falling asleep. A big and full day of travelling and shopping that made us tired beyond belief, and the trip had just started.

-Justin Wheeler

Day Four

Little did we know how rural our first school was when we packed into our vans and headed towards it. During our ride, many locals gawked at us foreigners as we passed by. After about 20 minutes, we got off our bus to ride a ferry. As we were getting off, the shoe of one of the students flew off his feet and into the water. Shoeless, Thuy hopped from the ferry to the bus. However, his shoe was saved by one of the ferry’s staff members. When we got to the school, we were met with tons of shy local students. When we waved to them, they ran away, but we quickly gained their trust when we broke out our colored pencils and paper and drew with them. While some TSC members were coloring with the kids, some were setting up the computers and crimping their cords. At the end of the day, we were met with happy, smiling kids who weren’t afraid to wave back.

-Yasna Vismale

Day Five

The nervousness and awkward tension between the TSC students and the Vietnamese students disappeared as we all began to grow closer to one another. Always greeting us with bright smiles and laughter, the students loved playing games with us. As we introduced them to new games like London Bridge and Red Light Green Light, we all grew closer and closer and started to form friendships. Always grabbing us with their little fingers trying to get us to play games we just taught them, TSC students tried their best to keep up with all their energy. What's interesting is that even though their school day is over, they would bike back home and hurriedly come back just to play with us. As we left, the students are always waiting to wave bye and asking us if we are coming back to play again. After finishing our work day and arriving back at our hotel, we get a few hours to explore the area in groups. From shopping to site seeing, there are so much fun things to do!

-Carmen Phu
Day Six

Day 3 at the school.  We finished up a few last technical things. Specifically, we got Unikey on the computers. That is sort of like Mavis Beacon, but less cringey. Then we taught the chiddles. They made some great MS paint art, as well as playing Javascript snake. We made them type their names for educational purposes. After 2 or 3 rounds of that, we were about to leave. Then the school wanted to give us a ceremony, so we were like, “k” and we sat down. The kids sang a thing, and they said some words. There was food, some of it was scary, such as very long crab legs. I don't think I saw anyone eat them. Zach was so spooked he actually went veggie. How strange. We then had a gift bestowed upon us. It was very large, and very heavy. Turns out it was 52 boxes of shrimp crackers. I think someone ate a few.

-Elliot Fisk

Day Seven

On April 12, 2016, as we were going to the First School where we set up and taught computers to the students and teachers, it was our last day there, so it was a joyful but depressing day as this was the last time we would be able to see those students in our lives but we knew we were able to build a better future for those students and that school, as well as for future students. As we got done teaching the last set of students about the computers, we had some time to teach and play with them about group games and gave out candy to all students. As we all got done eating a sending off meal, as we walked back to the vans, we waved back at the kids with all smiles knowing we did a good deed. It was a day to remember for all of us.

-Jonathan Nguyen

Day Eight

Today we went to our second school for the first time.  It was a longer drive than previously and took about an hour and a half.  Everyone worked really hard at the school and we got almost all the computers connected to wifi and working on the first day, this left us with a lot of free time to play games on the computers.  After we got back to our hotel, most of us went swimming.  The pool was super warm and pretty shallow but it still felt nice.  After that, we went to dinner at a Hot Pot which is essentially a bunch of sea food thrown in a pot with noodles and broth, it was very good.  At the end of the day everyone was super tired and went to bed basically immediately after dinner.

-Harrison White


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