I was privileged to be part of the team that went to Saigon (Ho Chin Minh City), Vietnam, for a recce trip a few days ago. Oh my, what a culture-shock it was for me. But in between the 2 taxi-service breakdowns that I had at the beginning and end of the trip, being accosted by ladies of the night, trying out new food that seems unmentionable at first, but was so seemingly wonderful when it touches my tastebuds...and amidst all the organised chaos of Saigon's road traffic, one thing that stood out in all that noise, was the warmth of the people there. The kind of warmth that was so honest, simple, yet touched my raw nerves on more than one occasion. Even in the humblest of huts, even in the most busies of traffic, and even in the 'busyness' of sacrificing their own personal time, the Vietnameses' warmth and sincerity in helping my partner and I, in trying to negotiate and make sense of things, was indeed a beacon of light in all that is chaotic. And to the 2 guides who untiringly help my partner and I chart a credible program outline for my students, this picture is a tribute to your beauty, on both the inside and the outside! Thanks once again...and hope to see you in a few months time!
Thao (Left) and Tram (Right).
Photo by Irfan Darian (2011)