Service Learning @ HCMC, Vietnam

Service Learning @ HCMC, Vietnam 2008
21/11/08 to 26/11/08
This is the third year we are running this service learning project. The group of students this time round is very different from last year. They are a much more disciplined lot and as they were working on their project in Cai May church, I could see their seriousness in the job. Although it was a simple task, but they all did it with much care. The team was tasked to set up a mini library for the kids in Cai May church and to bring them out for an excursion cum lunch. Both tasks were met.
I didn’t feel too good about the trip at first cos it seems like the whole responsibility was on me and it was a very heavy burden to bear. I prayed to God, "How can I lead this team? What do I have to offer them?" I was scared and I was afraid too. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I am leading a group overseas. Last year I was with Bennett, so he took the lead.

Anyway, by the grace of God, most of the things went well except for the strange rainy weather during the 2 days in Mekong Delta, Cai Be Province. It was the 2 days when we were doing the CIP. It was rainy and that made travelling messy and tough. On the second day, I decided to travel into Cai May Church by foot. I was even ready to cancel the trip in if it rain. Thanks be to God, the weather was alright and we carried out our mission successfully.


 The people in Cai May Church were appreciative of what we have done. But honestly what we did was very small compare with what Sister Beatrice and Father Vinh have been doing all these years. They are so dedicated to the people in the community and constantly providing the people with lots of moral support and spiritual encouragement. I know that our students also found great joy in helping the children there and interacting with them although there was much language barrier between them. Still they were able to communicate with one another through dance, songs and games. Its amazing how our students can overcome the language barrier to reach out to these kids. Indeed remarkable!

I pray that God will truly bless our students as they give to these needy kids in Cai May and may the Lord also bless the kids in Cai May. Well we also had our fun, especially in the crossing of roads in HCMC. Alot of the students had their culture shock. However, even that they overcame all the rivers of motorbikes and cars…by day 3 and 4, they were already crossing the roads confidently. Every time I am in Vietnam, it will take me the first few hours to get use to the traffic. I need to orientate myself first before I can cross confidently. I must say that once you get the hang of it…you will find that the traffic is more orderly than Singapore one…..hard to believe right!

The students went to other places too, such as Benh Than Market, War Museum, Cu Chi Tunnel, Reunification Palace, Mui Ne and Pham Ngu Lao. I guess the place that they like most is Benh Than Market. I am also very glad that the students appreciated the War Museum and Cu Chi Tunnel. Some of them were very disturbed by the photos in the War Museum. I also told them that the museum is highly propaganda and it is very anti-American. They were able to appreciate the propaganda too. I think many of them also enjoyed Mui Ne, the beach resort and the white sand dune.
All in all, this has been a wonderful service learning trip with the students and teachers. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
the gatekeeper07