Week two proved to be a little less hectic than week one, partially because we pushed the starting time back about an hour (lazy Americans on holiday). The work at the village continued with some gardening and quite a bit of weeding, but we also were given a couple of new projects to keep us entertained. At the beginning of the week, we were given the task of repainting the playground's old and rusty equipment.
The ever-sharp dresser Khai in his painting sweater vest
We did our best to sand all of the rust and whatever old paint remained, then slapped a new coat on. No Home Depot in Vietnam to rent a pressure washer, so we had to do it the old fashion way. Since we were in the center of the playground, we were also the center of attention for many of the kids. After their initial intrigue wore off, they decided they wanted to help. It was not always "helpful", but it was fun to have them work along side of us.
Joanna and Bach
Hai and Hoa
Joanna and Hoa
This little guy was so focused on painting…
…so was Quan.
The kids during the second week were even more comfortable with us and were always around to distract us from what we were supposed to be doing. Hoa, you may remember him from Week 1, is very into karate, and we all got into many "fights" with him. I think he would win if it were for real!
We also moved quite a bit of dirt from one side of the village to the other in order to make a new pathway. This was quite a messy job, but we were all glad to not be weeding!
On our last official day volunteering we got to visit a primary school in Hanoi that is geared towards English speaking, and mainly middle class, kids in the area. The kids here were very, very active and for some reason loved to jump all over me (Justin). Amber & I were asked to teach the kids an "American" game or song. So we are pleased to say that the hokey-pokey has been introduced to Vietnam.
Reading an English story to the kids.
A couple of adorable girls treated us to a song.
And speaking of adorable, look at these outfits!
We were also brought to the school to paint a mural and help work in their garden. But, I have to say I mainly played.
We were treated to a wonderful lunch at the school before heading to the Friendship Village for a goodbye party. We brought pictures of the kids to hand out, small toys, and a lot of sugary snacks. The kids seemed to really enjoy the pictures and many showed us the pictures of them and pointed to where they were taken. It was a nice send off, but we could help not feeling a little sad as some of the kids seemed to have grown attached to us and we just left them. We hope for them it was better to have had a short relationship with us than none at all.
Hai, the happiest guy I have ever met.
One of the many skills some of the people are taught at the village.
This kid was amazing at soccer.
All in all, it was a great experience and we are so happy to have been able to volunteer over here. It was wonderful to get to know the other volunteers and learn about their culture, especially the Vietnamese volunteers which loved to ask us questions about our culture and quick to introduce us to some of theirs.