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IJ BEACON Mission trip to Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam)
Daily reflections from students

Day 1 – Sunday (4 Nov 2018)

“Today, I was very excited to fly to Vietnam. It has been a great day so far. I am grateful to be able to experience a new culture and learn something new.” - Stefanie Beh.
“Overall, today is a very fruitful day. Even though we did not see the children children, we prepared items to give them by buying them basic necessities needed. I am thankful that all of us are able to bond over lunch and dinner. I am really looking forward to tomorrow.” - Aaliyah Quraisyah.
“I felt really nervous today because it was my first time going on an overseas school trip. However, everything ran relatively smoothly today spo that put me at ease a little. Despite my nervousness, I’m excited to go to the Mission Centre tomorrow to serve and meet the children.” - Sarah Khaled.
“I’ve learnt that we should not waste food but instead be grateful for the large amount of food given to us, as some may not be as fortunate as us. I also have learnt that I should not be picky about what I have and learnt to adapt to change, as change is the only constant.” 
 Tarini Devenderan. 

Day 2 – Monday (5 Nov 2018)
“Today, it was our first day meeting the children. I feel like the language barrier was the biggest obstacle for us but we tried to overcome it and used sign language instead to communicate. We played ‘Duck Duck Goose’ with the pre-schoolers as it was an easy game to demonstrate”. - Winnie Chan.

“Today was the first day we met the children at the school. The day did not start well as we woke up late and missed the assembly time and was late to board the bus. although we did not get scolded for it, and that we were not extremely late, it bothered me about how my groupmates and I were not respectful of others’ time and slowed down the process of going for breakfast. When we met the children at the school, I was taken aback at how energetic the kids were and how they welcomed us with open arms. However, I felt pressure when asked to do icebreakers with the older children in the school as we didn’t know what games would cater to them. Eventually, we found a balance and played some games with them and had a good time. I think I can improve on talking to the children and how to behave infront of them. Overall, it was a good day.” - Ashley Yeo.

“The children were incredibly enthusiastic and excited to do the craft project. We should learn from these children and be a little more enthusiastic in our lessons in IJ as we are given countless opportunities, like this one. We should really know how to not take these opportunities for granted, and always be grateful for what we have.” - Belicia Wong.

“Today, the teachers kept our phones or safekeeping and although I was unwilling to leave my phone, I thought about how having a phone ban would actually bring the 25 of us much closer and it really did! Whenever we had the time, we would come up with games to play and riddles to solve.” - Kodi Sim.

Day 3 – Tuesday (6 Nov 2018)
“Today, I felt happy as I could interact with the children.  I’ve learnt the different backgrounds of the new friends I’ve made, and I learnt to appreciate the things that I have. I felt quite sad that some of the children could not play due to the limited space and time, but I hope that everyone had a great time. I also hope that the trip  would carry on to be a meaningful one, and that I can learn more things/values that can teach and help me apply them to my life.” - Olivia Wee.

“Today, I thought about how much I have taken things for granted. For example, education. For me, I feel that studying and doing homework might feel like a lot for me. But there are people out there who can’t get an education. This just showed me how much I have in Singapore and how much the government helps the less privileged in Singapore.” - Siva Ruthira. 

“I feel that today was a really good day. Before we headed back to our rooms at the end of today, some of us who went to the houses of the families we bought groceries for shared their reflections on their experience. I realised that I really am privileged and that I take a lot of things for granted; that when the children come to school to play with us, they seem so happy but we don’t know the things that have happened in their lives and if they are as privileged as us. So for the next few days, I’m really going to treasure every single moment and learn to be more grateful.” - Dakshin Anoushka.

“Our school planned a relay match for the kids. It wasn’t an easy job to handle them and give instructions to them. But thankfully, we got someone to translate from English to Vietnamese for us. I totally enjoyed the fun with them and feel as though we are one big family. Secondly, today, I’ve got a chance to visit those families who are in need. I shed many tears visiting them, especially when the tour guide translated whatever they said when they shared their stories and experiences. I felt like we shouldn’t take things for granted. I hope I will have opportunities  to volunteer or help them again.” - Roziana Zailan.

Day 4 – Wednesday (7 Nov 2018)

“Today, we got the opportunity to interact and teach the children English. It was a very fruitful and heartwarming experience as not only did we get to experience how the children learn in the Mission Centre, but we also got to know a little more about some of the students’ family backgrounds. I think after this trip, I have learnt to be more appreciative and grateful towards everyone, and I hope that the children benefited from our visit.” - Renee Yeo.

“I think the sharing after dinner struck me as I realised the importance of being grateful for whatever we have in Singapore and we should not take it for granted. Being on this mission trip has made me think about my role as a member of the society, how I can contribute and how I can impact it. It made me think about how my little actions can brighten up their day and how everyone has their own story.” - Alyssa Thong.

“I was amazed at how simple it was to make them smile and laugh, whether it was giving them a high five or playing games with them. Every time I successfully made them laugh, it made me feel warm inside because back home, it wasn’t easy to hear such carefree and pure laughter. Being able to make these kids happy, even just for this period of time that we’re here in vietnam, I am so grateful for such an opportunity. I think about all the times I took such simple things for granted when really these small moments are really what provides us with the most joy and I’m really going to miss them when I leave vietnam. I hope that we have managed to be a beacon of light to them.” - Sarah Khoo.

“The children we visited are always so happy in school and so selfless. One of the girls we visited bought me a drink earlier even though I did not ask for it. These children, and their families, have shown me the capacity to be kind and strong regardless of how our lives are like, and I greatly admire them for that.” - Janna Casaje.

Day 5 – Thursday (8 Nov 2018)

“Today was the last time we will be seeing the children and I thought I will not cry because I don’t usually show my emotions. But I eventually started to cry as I left them as it was extremely heartbreaking and the last thing I wanted to see was them crying. These kids have taught me what true happiness is and I will never ever forget all the sweet notes they wrote for me, the hugs, and the Hi-Fives. I also really hope that someday I will be able to come back to Vietnam again and see these children. Lastly, I pray that these children will be successful and happy when they grow up.” - Alicia Wong.

“This trip is really special because it brought me out of many comfort zones and enlightened me about myself. Being an introverted and structured person, I found it hard to improvise lessons on the spot. I had to realise that completing tasks does not equate to success and I had to relook at how I defined success in the past week. I was also truly inspired by the strength and love present in each child that I met. They tried really hard to make us laugh and did not want us to worry about them. Some even offered us their food. I guess they did one of the things I find hardest to do - love unconditionally with complete indifference to any constraints put between us. I hope that when I go back to Singapore, I’ll be able to love others similarly - especially those that i find hard to. I hope that I can be as forgiving to the people that hurt me and treat everyone with the same sensitivity as I did with each kid.” - Sneha George.

“These past four days, I’ve learnt many, many things. I’ve learnt to be more patient and really others before oneself. I made many memories with the kids. There was this group of children who I was very attached to and they kept coming back to say ‘goodbye’ to us. They never fail to put a smile on our faces. I really hope that we are able to go back to visit them and I hope they will remember us.” - Ashley Low.

“I never thought that this trip would mean so much to me and for the kids to have so much impact on me. This trip honestly gave me a lot of insight into the lives of the many kids that truly changed my perspective and point of view in life. Their happiness meant a lot to me during this trip because all I wanted was to spread the love and blessings that I am really blessed with. Overall, this trip is the most meaningful one I’ve been to because I learnt so much in a span of one week and more than what I will or could even learn back in Singapore or in school. There was just so much love and happiness. I’m truly grateful for this opportunity that the school has given. I will never forget this moment.” - Charmaine Joson.