December 30th, 2008 – by: kristine_hardy
Fishing Village School
When I was preparing to go to Tuy Hoa I searched the web for anything on the GVN program there and found a blog on TravBuddy about it by Marnie Elder. That blog helped prepare me for my time here and to send Marnie a message I had to join TravBuddy and as I've got 3 hours to kill with no bed to sit on I thought I'd try and write something about my time here. Whether I get around to finishing it and what order everything comes out in, we'll have to see. But here we go......
Today I had a Fishing Village class with Romi from 8:30 to 9:45 and then Little School 2:30 to 3:45 by myself. Both are kindergarden classes. They started sending volunteers there in November. We go through the alphabet (we are up to 'I' in some classes), numbers, colours and animals.
We sing, give stickers and usually throw in a ball game if the weather is OK. One and a half hours is quite a bit to keep the kids entertained and in the beginning we sometimes were lost for things to do, but after a month I can happily take a class by myself. In fact I prefer taking classes by myself because I feel less self-conscious. However, I really can't sing. People think I'm being modest when I say this but I just can't breathe and sing and I'll suddenly run out of breath and miss words, plus I can't hold a tune. So me singing is a bit of a joke. In fact the funniest thing that happened today was in 'Little School'. The kids generally repeat everything we say ie 'What is it?', "What colour?"..... and after my attempt at singing Itsy Winsy Spider to stunned silence, one of the little boys looked at me (and these kids really have no english what so ever) and said "Very good", in the same encouraging tone that I'd been using with them when they got their numbers right.
Today for the first time they put the two Fishing Village classes together, which meant we had about 30 something kids for a longer lesson than we had planned but we managed OK.
I had the more advanced Little School class (the afternoon class) and I think it is due to the teacher practising with them (some previous volunteer said this as well...) as I heard her reviewing colours as I approached. The idea of teaching here is that both kindergardens are meant to draw students from the nearby Fishing Village, who have parents with not much money to spend on school fees etc. Meg, one of the other volunteers this month, bought the other classroom in Little School some resources to set it up. Hopefully we are doing something useful.
Although I orginally volunteered to work in an orphange (which I've done before in Kenya and China), this program has been more about teaching.
Fishing Village earlier in the month
The idea is that we are teaching under-priveledged kids. I have learnt a lot about teaching english (I'm not trained to teach, unless you count an on-line TEFL course) from the other volunteers and the experience here and I think this will help when I go back to Kenya or work in other orphanages. However our timetable means that we don't really see the same kids many times a week and with being here only one month, I really only feel close to the kids at 'Home of Affection'. For me this means my experience really hasn't been as rewarding and enriching as my time in Kenya or China. The only kids I'll miss are the 'Home of Affection' kids and SPC kids and thats because we got to see them 3 times a week and so we bonded more. Plus I'm not a very emotional person, our co-ordinator Nguyen said this is written in my palm, although most people can tell quite quickly after meeting me.
Having said that, I did feel sad after my last Little School class packing up the puzzles and saying 'Goodbye' I'll miss the kids as a group even though I don't really know them as individuals. I hope they do get something out of it and managed to go on with a good start in life.
Tuy Hoa is gearing itself up for a wave of tourism, building huge resorts. As currently all the many hotels seem empty I'm really not sure of the wisdom of this. The beach is OK, but not brillant and there isn't alot nearby. But as I keep saying to the others, maybe in Summer all the tourists turn up? and we aren't the only people in the hotel restaurants (the few times we go). This and the growth of the internet should make english a useful skill to have for these kids. Well thats what I tell myself.
Romi the other volunteer staying a month, has left for Saigon today and I'll catch the 10pm train to Da Nang, getting there tomorrow morning to catch the bus to Hoi An for 3 days relaxing before I head home to work.
Other Fishing Village class earlier in the month, before they joined the classes together