Family. Crowds. Noise. Traffic. Motorbikes. Mangosteen. Tangled electric lines. Oh, and one can never forget to mention the humidity or the heat. That heat *insert many fire emojis here*.
In all seriousness, these are a few of the things that I’m reminded of when I think of Vietnam, or specifically, Saigon. I think of the house where my sister and I both grew up in, with its blue walls and small garden on the roof. I think of sitting in the front of my dad’s motorbike as a child, weaving in and out of traffic on a particularly humid summer night as he tells me a bedtime story. I think of the city and all that my parents left behind so they could give us the opportunities they never had.
Bits and pieces of Saigon will always feel like home to me, but I’ve grown up and the city has changed. After spending a few days there recovering from jet lag with my grandma, I was ready for some new changes myself. Saigon will always be there, but it was also time for me to make my way to Dong Hoi. I was getting antsy, ready to explore a new city and start my work.
As I make my way across this new city, I couldn’t help but compare Dong Hoi to Saigon. People speak with a different dialect here. I’m definitely still getting used to it; I don’t understand as much I thought I would, but I’m working on it everyday. The city is also much calmer, people siesta for two hours at lunch before resuming their work day (the heat midday calls for a break), and crossing the street has stopped being a life-or-death game of Froggers.
Life here is shaping up to be a lot different from what I’ve grown to expect in Vietnam and I’m enjoying it. During my first week at AEPD, I’m settling in and learning as much about the organization as possible, so I can do effective work for the next six months. This Thursday, AEPD hosted a photographer from Irish Aid, so I was able to join him for a field visit and got the opportunity to meet some of the families AEPD is currently working with. I’ll be uploading these photos to my Flickr and Instagram page very soon. Stay tuned!
P.S. Here is a picture of a mangosteen. They’re delicious. If you’re ever offered a mangosteen, take it!
Posted By Ai Hoang
Posted Jun 25th, 2016