First day in Tuy Hoa. Woke up and had breakfast, fruit and french baguette with peanut butter/margarine/soft cheese and the harshest ice coffee ever invented. I had to dillut eit with some milk which came out of a bag. Then we all got in a taxi (i was originally dressed in tank top and to be respectful i put on a tshirt with sleeves, but my roomie jessica didn't, and i don't think any one was bothered) it's just so damn hot its hard not to walk around half naked. So we got in the taxi and did a mini tour of the city. It's real nice we've got a great location. First off the building is 300 metres from the beach, i can just barely see it from our balcony which looks over the main street with a park across the way. The room i share with my NZ chinese london based financier friend, jessica.
IT's a basic tile floor with blue walls and sarongs and sheets as curtains. There are three heavy duty fans blowing on the two mattresses laying on the floor. All the buildings here have high ceilings. We have double doors opening out onto the balcony. There's wireless internet and cable tv. We have a cook who provides breakfast lunch and dinner. We have a security man. We have 5 bicycles to get around town. We have a cleaning lady for kitchen bathroom and communal areas. We have a washing machine and we have hot water. It's luxury compared to what I have been living in, esepcially after the rescue centre in thailand, i feel spolied as a volunteer here.
Back to the taxi. We got a tour of the town, quite lovely and developed, with hints of that venice meets wild west style.
There are some old style cemetery's with chinese writing, a pagoda, a buddha, a temple. But alot of it is westernized, shopping centre, entertainment centre. We stopped at the grocery store and I got 2 cans baked beans, a bunch of packest of gum, toothpaste, fase wash, 2 bars of dove soap and the total came to 185,000 dong which is about 10 USD.
view from my balcony
We also stopped at the SPC, the orphanage, and met some of the babies and disabled children, and one little girl who seemed to have nothing wrong with her except she had never learned to smile. I broke out in tears and had to hide my eyes behind my shades, can't cry in front of kids. It's heart wrenching. There were 3 foster moms there and about 12 children, which is a good ratio I'm told, compared to other places.
Went to the beach after our tour around town and after we had lunch. I ate fish. Again its family style eats, so you get one small bowl that you fill with rice and add in other food from plates of vegetables and meats. There was fried cubes of pork fat with chilli, i obviously didn't touch, there was sauteed fish cutlets which i did nibble on, really really good, and spring rolls, and green beans in a spicy sauce. Mainly lots of rice and you eat with chopsticks, which is great because it slows down your intake, plus the portions are mainly large in rice and vegetables, and very small in meat. We had two small cutlets of fish between the 6 of us. Where as back in the states that portion would be for one person, plus dessert and appetizers and drinks.
We had a passion fruit juice drink and for dessert some apple, rambutan, and pineapple to nibble on a plate. We sat around after lunch discussing the placements and allocating the work. They're 2 vollies short staffed this month and have an additional centre to care for, the disabled centre for deaf and down syndromed children. Luckily Rob and Margaret have been here a month already and can show myself, norma, and jessica the ropes. But they've never done Disabled Centre so that'll be a first for all of us. Rob basically took control in the meeting and dictated to Jenny and Kimmy what he thought we should focus on and where the most benefit will come from our time here. It was amazing Jenny and Kimmy were so open to hear his thoughts and they all compromised leaving every one content.
view from my balcony showing the park and the water
Basically Jenny and Kimmy want to do whats best for the kids as well but they have contracts with the high school and VTC and can't just drop going to them altogether to allow more time at SPC and kinde, so we've cut those back to one night and added one day to SPC and DS. None of it meant much to me, but I'm sure after a week of work it'll all fall into place.
these types of billboards are found everywhere
After our long meeting, which was quite sore on my brusied tailbone, which isn't getting better from the drugs i bought at the grocery store, they're not strong enough I don't think. After the meeting I wandered to the beach on my own. It was quite nice at first as I was bombarded by children wanting there photos taken and I let them play with the camera and I let an older lady take a pic with me on her phone and we tried to converse, although there was no english in her vocab and no vietnamese in mine.
And a little boy wanted to practice his english which was encouraging. But then the beggars came. First a very old lady with the most busted teeth and lips you have ever seen. She's all in black with the traditional vietnamese sun hat on and she's got two walking canes that she relies on heavily. She plops down next to me and without english, all in sign tells me to give her money. Well how on earth can I say no to her? I mean the lady looks like she literally fought in the french and american wars and did not come out victorious. So i gave her a wad of dong from my purse, probably only $5, she took it obligingly, alsmost like i was doing her the favor of taking it or like it was owed to her, and she sat a while longer before getting up and wandering off.
At that point I think my camera phone friend was preparing me a bowl of soup with two intact fried fish sticking out of it. At the same time some street kids recognized me give money out of my purse and came begging. I didn't want the soup and I couldn't take the guilty feeling from the sad faces so I thanked the woman profusely, camern, and went back to GVN to retell my first experience on the beach.
After an hour or so Jess and Norma wanted to go for a wander so I went with them back to the beach and we met up with Rob and Margaret who had just got out of the sea. We were swarmed by more street kids who hold there hands out and say 1 dollar. It turns out these are some of the street kids we will be teaching english too. Apparently the story with some of the orphan ones is there foster parents won't let them go to school during the day but send them out working the streets for money, at night is the only chance they have to learn so they come to us.
We refused to give them money. But I pulled out a map of Ty Hua and we went over numbers and places on it and had a mini lesson with them. It was quite fun but that feeling was ruined again when at the end of it they asked me for more money. Then we went to a cafe on the beach where an old lady just as bad looking as the one who suckered me, tried to pull money from us, but we ignored her until the restaurant manager came out and ushered her away, she came back later but got nothing from us.
girls stay fully dressed even in the hottest weather, it's a vanity thing, lighter skin is more attractive, dark skin implies poverty a day of working hard in the fields.
It's so hard because you don't know what to believe about these people's situations so I just don't know whats best to do.
Had dinner back home after a coke on the beach. The dinner was noodles and soupy stew with chicken and potato and carrots and chinese turnip.
I picked around the chicken and JEnny asked our cook Chi to prepare veggie meals next time for Jess and I, jess i get the feeling eats meat but its nice to not be the only veggie.
After dinner the three newbies learned we'd be teaching 2 classes of 37 5 year olds tomorrow morning for an hour and a half. So that means 2 for one class and 1 vollie for the other. I volunteered to be on my own. So I'm putting together a lesson plan for the kiddos and in the morning I'll be running to the copiers to prepare sheets for the students. I've decided to spend 15 minutes on my introduction. I can walk around and try to converse with the kids. Write my name in english, where I'm from, etc... Then I'll ask them to stand to do some stretching. Then we can do the head shoulders song and the hokey pokey dance.
THen we'll quiet down and go over some colors with the crayons. Then i'll pass around the crayons and hold up numbers and whenever a kid tells me the number I'll give them the sheet and they can color it in until the class has ended. Ayyyayyaaayyy we'll see how it goes.