Day 4 – March 28
My second FDP was on day 4 and it was to a school for deaf and disabled children. It was about a 30-minute bus ride to the school and we arrived and were ushered into a conference room to speak with the principal of the school. After our introduction, we were split into groups of two as we headed towards the classrooms. It was a little confusing at first but we realized they wanted us to be in all of the classrooms because we wouldn’t be moving around the rooms. We just stayed in the classroom until recess. I ended up in the 4-5 year olds classroom with a guy on the trip. As we walked in, it only took a matter of seconds for the children sitting in their chairs to start grabbing my hands and pulling me into a hug. It was absolutely adorable. The teachers rounded the kids up into a semicircle so we could take a picture with the teachers and kids and principal and then we handed out gifts to the kids. I had silly bands and the other kid had pens. So the teachers went and got papers and crayons so the kids could draw. They loved my camera and constantly tried to grab it so they could take pictures. Although I would have been fine with it if they were a little older, they got a little too aggressive trying to grab it so I had to keep putting it away. It was a little hard to express why they weren’t allowed to touch it, with the double barrier of not only sound but also language, so the “no touch” rule had to keep being enforced by the teachers. It was fun to spend time with the kids and color with them. Several of them drew pictures for me, including one girl, who was by my side the whole time, who drew me a picture of her family.
After at least an hour in class, it was time for recess outside with all of the kids together. Everyone was passing out all kinds of goodies, like silly bands, pencils, stickers, and more. After about 30 minutes of recess, we headed back to the conference room where the principal performed a song for us. It was quite funny because he was obviously very proud of his singing and after each verse, encouraged us to clap for him. He did this funky thing with his finger that was sort of like a snap but was extremely loud and didn’t sound man-made. After he sang for us, they had us a sing a song and a life-long learner on our trip led us in some older song, that no one knew. After a question and answer time, they gave us an opportunity to buy paintings the kids had drawn. There were a few up on the wall, but they had numerous stacks of drawings of oil pastel, colored pencil, crayon, paint and more. I ended buying a couple because some of them looked really cool.
After my FDP, Katy and I met up and headed to go find a good place for our spa day. We ended up finding a nice hotel with a spa and spent $30 on a massage, manicure, and pedicure. Since it was later in the afternoon already, we decided to just hang out at the market and find our last few items, since it was our last day in Saigon. On our way back to the ship, to see if Malia was back from her trip so we could go back to the tailor, we ended up finding a little tailor and I got one last shirt made and Katy found a really cute dress she had altered for her. Once we got back to the ship, we got ready and headed out with a bunch of kids to find somewhere to eat. We all split off because I needed to go pick up my shirt from the tailor and exchange something I had bought. We grabbed dinner and then went back to find the group. Katy and I hopped on a motorbike to go to the restaurant, which was quite an experience with the insane traffic. There is really no way to explain the traffic in Saigon, except that when you’re crossing the street, the only way to get across without freaking out, is to close your eyes, or at least look straight ahead, and walk at a steady pace without stopping. The drivers of the motorbikes, cars, and buses just swerve around you as you’re walking. It’s extremely unnerving, but once you get used to it, it’s almost thrilling. It really is quite an accomplishment. Think of the worst traffic you know and you’re probably about half as close as the traffic in Vietnam, or at least Saigon.