Whoa . . . Thao woke up and left for her hometown around 7:30 this morning. I stayed in bed and didn’t wake up until . . . 10:47. And it’s not like we stayed up late – I think we were in bed by 11. It seems like every couple of weeks over here I crash hard and sleep for 11 or 12 hours. Oh well, I guess I needed it.
Yesterday was busy for a Saturday. I got up early and met some students from our volunteer group at a Save the Children Vietnam training class. It was at Saigon’s Open University – which provides classes for street children. The training class was for Save the Children Vietnam’s Peer Educators, which is a group of about 20 street children who have been hired by STCV to act as role models for other street children. The focus is mostly on preventing the spread of AIDS, so a lot of emphasis on using clean needles and condoms. Our group, CAN, is going to be working with STCV to provide basic English classes to the Peer Educators, Vietnamese reading and writing classes to the street children who can’t read or write, and letting the street children play football (soccer) on RMIT’s football fields, which are quite nice.
So yesterday was kind of an introductory meeting just so that the Peer Educators would know who we are and hopefully feel comfortable with us. We were there for about 2 hours and some of the stories we heard about life on the streets of Saigon was pretty intense. (And it was all in Vietnamese so I only understood part of it – probably even more intense to everyone else there who could understand 100% of it.)
At the end of the meeting, the students who went with me said that they had never heard stories like that put quite so bluntly, and we were discussing how hard those kids’ lives are. One of the students said he is going to stop complaining about having too much homework or project deadlines, etc., as he really has nothing to complain about. I was glad to hear that – because I think that’s one of the points of our volunteer group – to expose our relatively privileged students to the other side of things. Anyway, we’re excited about working with Save the Children Vietnam.
After that, I had some time to kill so I had a cup of coffee at one of my favorite restaurants, bought a book from one of the street vendors – Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (I have no idea if it’s any good or not but it was cheap) – then met a friend for lunch. After that, I went to school because we had our second midterm yesterday afternoon and I had to go moderate it. We finished that up about 4:30pm. So far, the students seem to think it was easier than the first midterm, so hopefully they made better grades. They need them at this point.
Last night Thao and I went out for sushi, then just came home and hung out.
And like I said, my day just started about an hour ago and it’s noon already. Not sure what I’m going to do today. Probably just chill.
This week will be a pretty easy one because we have a holiday on Wednesday for Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence Day.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend!