Day to Day

Da Nang Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
So I thought it may be handy/interesting to explain just what my days are like Monday to Friday here. Volunteering with Global Volunteer Network (GVN) there are three placements in Vietnam - I am at the Da Nang one. Within Da Nang, there are five centres we work at. I only happen to rotate through four; Malnourished, AOV1, AOV2, and the Red Cross Centre.

Malnourished is an orphanage for about 10 malnourished infants. They range from newborns to about 1 year. They are all children who have been neglected and/or malnourished. We feed, change, and play with them to get them up and out of their cribs and help them to grow and strengthen their muscles so they can learn to walk and all that fun stuff. There's also 3 older disabled children at malnourished. I would guess around 8 years old, but it's really hard to tell. We feed them as well, but also do physio and help them stretch out their legs and arms. Mostly, we're just trying to keep the children laughing and happy.

At AOV1 (Agent Orange Victims), there's many children, atleast 20, from about 8 to 16 who have some sort of disability mostly due to agent orange. They're split into two groups, the ones who can learn and are allowed to take classes and the ones who aren't "fit". So while we're there, we'll play soccer or catch with them, lots of colouring and play-doh, and then one the volunteers teaches the class. They always seem to have the most energy out of any of the placements. I believe it's just a day centre, but there may be a few who live there full-time seeing how there are numerous beds.

AOV2 is much the same except it's strictly a day centre. Downstairs there's about 20 children with various disabilities and conditions, that's where I spend most days. However upstairs there are also two rooms filled with babies. In the front room there's about 12 babies up to the age of 1 and in the back room there's probably another 12, all new borns. We bath the newborns monday, wednesday, and friday mornings. I'm upstairs mondays and fridays in the mornings and downstairs tuesdays, wednesdays, and thursdays. Still doing lots of colouring and play-doh with the kids downstairs, they also really like puzzles so I usually bring a couple for them.

Red Cross is a full-time orphanage, with children and young adults. I believe they are about 6 years old all the way to 20ish. At many of the centres it's hard to say how old the kids are because many of them don't have a birth certificate. There are many more of them here, but it's also a much larger facility. I'd guess around 40 children, but its really hard to tell. I go there once a week to do arts and crafts, so far we've done lots of painting!

So between those four, I visit one in the morning (8:00 to 10:00) and one in the afternoon (2:00 to 4:00), monday to friday. The Vietnamese have a much different setup for the work day. Most people come home for lunch and have an afternoon nap before going back to work for the afternoon. It seems to be working out quite well for me so far, but must admit, I'm more exhausted after a solid two hours of games then I am back home after an eight and half hour shift with the hour break. However, on friday's we only have the morning session and then are off for the weekend. It makes it super easy for planning our weekends and jumping on a bus or train earlier to get ahead start.

Our evenings are free to fill with what we like. I've decided to teach English at the University Tuesday and Wednesday nights and on Mondays I have a Vietnamese lesson here at the house. Thursday's become our planning day. We are currently trying to figure out our plans for the weekend and hotel reservations as we are hopefully going up to Hue. I'll be writing again on Sunday or Monday to let everyone know how it went.

Write soon,
aelder2259 says:
How did you like GVN as an organization? I am going to be working in an orphanage in Guatemala next your through them.
Posted on: Apr 14, 2012
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Da Nang
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