Letters From Vietnam…Part 3

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Hope you have all enjoyed reading about this amazing experience my daughter Katie had. Here are a couple more days of her journey along with some photos and video….it is certainly a whole different world over there.

hello! or should i say “sin ciao!” (Hello in Vietnamese!)

We’re in Hue now which is a big city in the middle of Vietnam north of Saigon in the south! I like it better than Saigon..its a little more neighborhoody I think how Madrid might be to crazyand every time you walk outside youre drenched in sweat..really hot! We had another mobile clinic yesterday where we drove about two hours into a veryyy rural area where we were driving on a red muddy road through miles of rice fields to get to a little 3 room town center I guess you’d call it. There were mostly old women waiting for us..so many of them would grab my hand and say something to me in Vietnamese with a longingly face..it was powerful. I think most of them are very sick or dehydrated and very old. There were also a ton of babies! I took pictures of all of them and one kept smiling at me so her mom let me hold her and I threw her up in the air and she laughed so hard…everyone was watching..it was the cutest thing! Her mom told a girl in our group who speaks Vietnamese that we should take her home with us for she’d have a better life in the states…I wish I could have taken her with me, she was the cutest! Yesterday at the clinic Gaelen and I took the blood pressure the whole time of the old women.

When they’d pull their sleeve up their arm looked like just skin and bones. I was so worried the blood pressure cuff would be too tight around their very fragile arms.

Their blood pressure was very high too..some of them around 180/90 when I think the normal average is around 120/70 or so. I think that the high bp could be due to the salty foods they eat or an unhealthy diet. After that I directed people from dropping off their prescriptions around the corner to picking them up..I now know how to say, “Cam ung, li-a ga sol!” meaning “thank you, please wait at the window!” haha ..it was so exciting when they understood what I said and didn’t have to ask for a translation from a native speaker in the group!

After the clinic we drove back to our hotel in Hue and napped for a couple hours and then went to dinner at a local place! Hue is famous for a big bridge that lights up rainbow colors at night..so we walked across that to a small hole in the wall place and ate a dish that the restaurant is famous for called banh khoai. Its basically an omlet type of thing with shrimp and pork inside..it was delicous and only 20,000 dong which is roughly one US dollar! Today we’re headed to an orphanage to teach the kids some english and some basic health lessons such as how to brush their teeth, puberty, and hygiene. I think tomorrow and the next day we’ll be driving to rural places around Hue to set up more clinics so I’ll let you know how those go!! This is such an amazing experience! I miss you guys so much!! Pops, the girl in charge in our group said she’d talk to the NGO heads here in Vietnam and ask them if it’d be possible for you to come maybe next year and have one of the native speakers in the group translate for you! I’m sure they’d love more help and it would be a very rewarding experience for you!! I miss you guys and can’t wait to see you soon!!


Hola mama y papa!
Today was the most amazing day I just have to write about it!! We took a family van to a very rural part of outside Hue where we reached a giant lake with large canoe type boats. We paid a man to take us in a very unstable canoe with a motor on it to another part of the lake. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to…just breath taking! There were rows and rows of mountains in the background all around this giant lake. The motor broke down a couple of times and we had to take buckets and dump out the water from inside the boat..it was hilarious and pretty scary being stranded in the middle of the lake. Finally we ended up at this remote town of maybe a couple people who have to take this 20 minute boat ride to get to any other populated place. ACWP, the org we work with built these kids one school house a couple of years ago so we visited these kids and gave them all pencils and tooth brushes and tooth paste and notepads and then gave them some toys we brought with us. I taught a girl how to use a pez dispenser and all of the kids thought it was the coolest thing. We also gave some of the kids kit kat bars that they had never seen before and I gave a mom the package of babywipes I had been carrying around in my purse with me so that she could wipe her kids’ faces off with it..she thought it was wonderful! It was unbelievable how they seriously have nothing except maybe the clothes on their back and the shoes they wear, most of which are much too small for them. Again there were so many babies and I just fall in love with each of them! I hope you guys are doing well and I can’t wait to see you soon!! I’m off to the festival to celebrate Buddha’s birthday tonight!! There are giant pink lotus laterns in the river so it should be beautiful! I love you and miss you!! XOXOX!!