A Busy Project Week!

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
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20
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Trip End Jul 01, 2014


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Flag of Vietnam  , Quảng Ninh,
Thursday, December 31, 2009

I arrived in Halong City on Sunday afternoon. I am happy to be staying at the Halong Pearl Hotel again. The staff is welcoming and helpful, and the room is well priced, comfortable, spacious and bright. I count on the included breakfast buffet each morning for one predictable meal where I can find food that agrees with me!

On Monday I visited the Indochina Junk office and worked with Mr.Tuyen on our goals and plans for this week. On Tuesday, my friends Peter and Ty introduced me to his lovely sister, Ms. Phuong, and to her family. Peter drove me to Van Don, an island about 30km away, for a day trip of sightseeing. We returned to Ms. Phuong's house for a very lovely dinner. Ms. Phuong had been tipped off that I eat vegetarian food. She went to the "Taiwan Shop" and bought many unusual and delicious vegetarian delicacies that I had never tasted! I enjoyed the evening and company of her lovely family in her their very pretty home!

The next day, I invited Ms. Hong, a very bright and outgoing 19 year old girl from the Vung Vieng Village to my hotel spend a couple days and a night with me. Ms. Hong (pronounced Humm) was so interested in learning to use a computer. She participated in the teacher training and has helped the teachers and the children with the XOs since my first trip to the village. "Hong" is one of the only, if not the only, VVV young adult that has graduated from high school on the mainland. Hong explained to me that she was lucky as she had relatives to stay with in Halong City for high school, but that most of the children don't have that opportunity.

I promised to teach Hong to use a PC, email and Google and about the Internet. My idea is to work with Ms. Hong on the XO too and teach her many things, so that at least one adult resident of the village is knowledgeable and comfortable using the XO, and is able to better demonstrate the laptop's benefits to others.  Ms. Hong is a very quick learner and really wants to learn to speak English. I see so much improvement in her English language skills after 2 days with me, as I gave her no choice but to "dive in and swim."

On Tuesday night, Mr. Peter invited his extended family to his home for dinner and an English class taught by the only native speaker around, me!  We had a fun evening. Everyone wants to learn so much. They are attentive and motivated like I don't often see in American kids and 20-somethings.

Wednesday was a planning/project day and last night I took Hong and Peter's lovely niece, Lan
to a Bai Chay tourist restaurant for pizza and another English lesson! I hope they had fun. I did.

From the photos in this entry, you can catch a glimpse of the two worlds I have found here. I have met "well to do" business people and many poor people also. I can see and feel a country in the midst of change. The majority of the population is rural and many people are very poor.

But just now I am in the modern indoor Emeraude Cafe in Bai Chay. It is for the tourist clientele and the western food (a clean salad) and free desktop internet is just what I needed!  If you travel here and need respite from the street noise and coal ash air, I recommend this lovely place!

Tomorrow, with any luck, we will be taking a solar power system to the floating village. Watch for exciting details in the next entry!


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