Our time in Vietnam was dominated by the volunteering English teaching we did in Da Nang, a coastal city about half way between Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh in the south.
Staying with Mai and her boyfriend Vuong proved to be perfect, as it allowed us to immerse ourselves more in the Vietnamese culture. What we had not taken into account was the level of friendliness and warmth that our two hosts and the university students showed us. This was quite humbling to spend time with these quite amazing people who helped us, joked with us, sang songs, ate food, drank alcohol, shared our beds after late nights, acted as tour guides and scooter taxi drivers. Quite amazing!
Going out for coffee at one of the local street cafes is a regular morning, afternoon, evening and even a night activity. Some of the students even picked me up at 3:00am so we could go and watch Liverpool play only getting home at 5:00am for a couple of hours sleep.
Every evening there are 3 different classes who attend English Lessons every other day and they get the chance to learn how to improve their English fluency with Sharki3, myself and this time for the first time, with our little offspring, protege Tylo. She was a superstar rolling her sleeves up and helping students her own age or in some cases a little older learn to speak English.
Anywhere we needed to go someone would make themselves available to take us on the back of their scooter. But most impressive was how the students co-ordinated sightseeing activities around Da Nang. No arguments or petty disputes, just a simple arrangement to be ready at a certain time and they would turn up almost in perfect harmony and take us to see some fabulous temple or bridge or moutain cave or lake, followed by some great streetside food.
Eating with our new friends allowed us to try out foods we would never have thought to have, but wow some of those cakes, which are nothing like western style cakes are quite delicious.
I am not going to single any students out in this blog as they know who they are and we are all connected on Facebook so I know they will be reading this post. Busily translating themselves or in the odd case using google translator.
I think that we are truly blessed on this journey of ours and our time in Da Nang with the students and family of Mai Learning Centre proves just this. These are very special young people indeed and a joy to have met them and be little part of their lives.