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Home > News & Events > IJ Goes Global > Vietnam

Vietnam





Day 1: 5 Nov 2017

The group has safely arrived in Vietnam.

We had a really caring tour guide who told us more about Ho Chi Minh City. The city has a population of about 13 million and  10 million own motorbikes. It was really fun to see people riding motorcycles and we saw a lady with a TV strapped to her back and a family of 4 cramped onto a motorbike. The traffic here was so different because in Singapore, it’s so neat and orderly. 
- Group 3; St Katherine


Day 2: 6 Nov 2017

We had lessons teaching the kids on Monday. The kids are very warm and welcoming. They were also very simple and happy, unlike in Singapore where people can be judgemental at the people whom we meet. They enjoy playing with each other. The language barrier is very real and very hard. I am glad we are able to get our points across and the kids enjoyed our activity very much.  
 - Caitlyn Sih

Playing with the children was something that honestly made me really happy. I actually really don’t like kids but this definitely changed my perspective a little more than I thought. The kids played “zero point” jumping over ropes that were often at their shoulder level or above. When they fell, they laughed it off and tried again. Then there was us, 15 year olds, too scared to try, much more scared to fail. We are always so uptight about things that we forget what it means to be a little fearless and what it means like to take risk. We’ve always cooped up in our room studying, that we forget to go out, get some fresh air and laugh with our friends. Honestly, that reflects on us on how we could have enjoyment and company, without our phones and technology.    
- Portia


Today was our first interaction in the classroom. I was extremely excited to meet them but slightly unsure about our lessons. The moment we arrived, sister greeted us and told us the story behind the Centre. The story made me realise how fortunate I am to have early access to education in Singapore. When we met the kids later, I was extremely heartened to see their cheery, carefree lifestyle. To them, they were all equal, no bullying,  no cliques and no shyness. The kids expressed their warm welcome with embraces and hi-fives. The kids truly appreciated what they had and made the most of every little bit that they had. I definitely remember this important lesson. During lesson time, it was difficult to manage the kids as they were very energetic and enjoyed playing. Reflecting on this, one area of improvement would be for us to have lessons in the form of games to get their attention. 
 - Jacinda - (group 1)




Day 3: 7 Nov 2017

Today the sight that touched me the most was when a child brought me ice water. It was such a sweet gesture as she did it without me asking her to. I feel that there are times when I should think more before I act. The challenging moment today was to paint the fences and pillar but I tried my best and reach as high as I could. As for moments where I was annoyed by my circumstances, I will try my best to change my impulsive action.

 - (Group 2)

Today we cleaned and painted the fence. It was surprisingly fun and I remembered laughing with my friends while doing the job. The children helped us a lot while we painted the fence. There was a little quiet girl who helped to clean some paint that spilled on the floor. She did this without hesitating and it made me reflect on myself as I probably would have fussed about it and I just really admire the little girl.

- (Group 4): Reeana Francisco

Today the sight that touched me the most was when a child brought me ice water. It was such a sweet gesture as she did it without me asking her to. I feel that there are times when I should think more before I act. The challenging moment today was to paint the fences and pillar but I tried my best and reach as high as I could. As for moments where I was annoyed by my circumstances, I will try my best to change my impulsive action.

- (Group 2) : Jillian Yeo 


Day 4: 8 Nov 2017

The main things learnt today was how fortunate so many of us are. My heart breaks to know that there are still probably millions of them that experience the same hardships. Also, I really admire the sisters for continuing god’s work, sharing the love of teaching the less fortunate. They do not expect anything in return. It inspires me to be like one, always giving and never really expecting anything in return. It was an emotional and thoughtful day with them. I have grown so attached to the little children and it makes me sad that we will be leaving them soon. 

- Devya - (Group : St Katherine)


Today was quite uneventful for me as I felt a little unwell in the early morning and missed the interaction with the classes. I would like to express gratitude towards the teachers and the sisters for taking such great care of me. I was given time to rest while the rest played with the kids. After some rest, I got up to help my friends with the painting. When the painting was completed, some of the children from my class took out their notebook and pens and went around asking us to write down our Facebook names so as to keep in touch. One of the boys even wrote our names on an eraser that we gave him. Even though it was spelt wrongly, I was incredibly touched. In Singapore, when outsiders came to our school, I would not really take effort to remember their names or greet them. I think I could really learn a thing or two from the children. Overall, even though I was not at my best today, I was still able to learn many things. I hope I would be in a healthy state tomorrow to spend the last day with the children well.

Jaina Ng- (Group : St Katherine)

Today, a few of us went out to visit one of the poorest family in the area. I honestly felt nothing but shock at the living condition of this family. There were 8 people living in one small room, the size of my room. That room made up the kitchen, toilet and the sleeping area. I questioned how exactly was it possible for all of them to sleep in that small room. It only had the bare essentials. The items that they had were so bare that many fortunate ones would consider it less than basic. I think what got me so upset was the fact that the mother of 6 children smiled at us even while some of my friends were crying at the state they were in. Their family didn’t look the upset, perhaps because they were so used to their helplessness and living conditions. And for their kids, it is truly unfortunate that due to their living conditions and background, opportunities for them would be greatly limited. Even though they receive help from the missionaries, the fact that they have almost no government support will greatly hinder them. Secondly, I felt that it is very admirable that even though the family has 6 children ; 1 being blind and another a newborn, they simply learn to make do. The fact that they weren’t observably upset shows that they do not just wait for help and be sad about their state.Reflecting on this, I truly feel ungrateful as I have a good background and ample support. I am truly fortunate and yet as Singaporeans, we often find the smallest and simplest things to complain about. I realise that this is the our human nature. But after observing today, I realise that there is nothing to complain about.

- Emily - (Group : St Jane)