sleeper bus

Tuy Hoa Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 26 › view all entries

Orientation day. We got an introduction to the program, it's history, it's staff, and its incoming volunteers. As well as a brief description of teaching, the levels of the classes, and tips on how to manage in front of a classroom of non native english speakers.

The founder of the program, VIet, is an impressive man. True to the buddhist beliefs he wants us to pass our healthy energy to those disabled children in need. We may not cure them but we can try and help them, by being positive and loving. He was born in 1968 along the 17th parallel. His dad died one year later and his mother went mentally ill and forgot about him. He was left in an orphange for a year and a half before his mother remembered him and brought him to Da Nang to be raised.

all the room i had on the sleeper
At 18 he left home and traveled Vietnam and at 26 he went to university and got a degree in english. An english degree here means that on paper and grammatically you know english better than we do, but that comprehension is shot. They don't converse as much as they should, and it's on a worse degree true for the younger students. So it's our job as GVN workers to get the children to understand and speak conversational english.

There are 20 vietnamese staff working for the program, one american whose been here six months and staying for another year,  and then around twenty vollies placed throughout the three sites, Tam Ky, Da Nang, and Ty Hua the last of which I am on a sleeper bus to now. There's a stand up Vietnamese comedian on the tv and there language is quite high pitched, lots of Daaa, Naahh, nazily.

We had an hour lesson in Vietnamese today, I didn't retain much but it was fun to try and speak it. Similar to thai they have differing annunciations of syllables and letters that affect the meaning of the word. Not similar to thai is the french influence in the language which has formed into a combination of symbols and english alphatbet which allows us to read it alot more than the chinese influence and thai symbols.

The bus stopped for dinner and it was all included in the ride so we sat family style around tables and ate with the other passengers out of bowls/plates of different veggies and meats with chopsticks. A lovely experience, true Vietnam food with native vietnamese. On the ride we've passed scenes that you assume true of Nam. Mountains in the distance beyond rice patty fields with tradiionally dressed farmers in straw sun hats.

This sleeper bus is a riot. You can't be more than my height to ride it.  You're given a narrow mattress to lay on and a seatbelt to strap across your stomach while you're sleeping.  Which is completely necessary because I felt like Harry Potter on the Knight bus on this thing.  You're thrown and jerked around like crazy, and don't even bother trying to use the squat toilet while it's in motion, trust me I tried.

Ok, night night.


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all the room i had on the sleeper
all the room i had on the sleeper
Tuy Hoa
photo by: MarnieElder