The Hamlet of Nam Chien

Trip Start Oct 23, 2011
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Trip End Nov 12, 2011


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Where I stayed
Linda Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  , Kiến Giang,
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When we arrived in the Hamlet of Nam Chien, we were asked to meet with representatives from the People's Party, the Women's Union of the Khmer group for an official welcome before to proceeding to the work site.  The meeting was held on the second floor of a large, drab, concrete building in the center of town and likely the largest building in town.  Upon entering the 2nd floor meeting room my eyes were drawn to the wall at the end of the room covered floor to ceiling with a red and green curtains in front of which a statue of Ho Chi Minh with a flower offering was displayed along with photos of Marx and Lenin under which a banner proclaimed "communism forever" in Vietnamese.  There is no a question we are in a communist country. 

After, introductions and a little speech about the process of selecting the family we would build for we were dismissed.  We were told that the family was chosen because it was one of the poorest.   We thanked them for their time and gathered our gear for a walk down the main street of town to board the long narrow boat that would provide the river portion of our commute each day.

 


 



On that first walk we received some very strange looks as we paraded, single file, down the narrow lane but as the days went by people warmed up, smiled and waved and some of the children would yell “hello” as we strolled through town.   There was one little girl who ran out of her house everyday to smile and wave at everyone and she received many smiles and waves in return.




 

















 
 

 

We had a 20-minute boat ride to our worksite in Ban Tan Dinh Commune which I was able to locate on Google maps (I think) and as I suspected it nothing more than a thin strip of land surrounded by water, the river on one side and flooded rice paddies on the other with side-by-side houses stretching along a single pathway. 

I found river life very interesting and a pleasant way to start and end each day apart from the fact there were no seats so we sat on the floorboards with large gaps between boards that proved to rather uncomfortable.  Finally on day 5, I remembered my little Thermarest cushion hidden in the bowels of my suitcase.  There was also a little gecko under the floorboards that periodically caused a little excitement when he would surface under someone's arm or leg.

We used our boat-time to finish breakfast or worksite conversations, sleep, get better acquainted or just marvel at life on the river.


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