I wake up around 5:30 every morning, which is very weird for me since at home that would probably never happen unless I am traveling with family or friends. I lay there for a second, realizing that today I actually get to go in to the office and be around the staff. I leave my room to get breakfast from downstairs in the hostel. Once I turn the corner to get to the office, I see Ngoc and we laugh upon seeing each other, both thinking about the weekend we just had together, and then Ms. Hong smiles at us both. I walk up and Ms. Hong gives me a big warm hug and says “Finally!” And I say, “Yes, Finally!” We all walk into the office and I meet Thao (AEPD Accountant), who has also been working with her husband to help with my work visa process.
The four of us then head off to get some coffee to start the day and allow Ngoc to tell them about our journey. As I sat there and listen to Ngoc explain the story to them in Vietnamese, I began to think about all the things I had to get done now in less than the ten weeks allocated. I started to make a list in my head and think about the questions and when we were going to the field which would be next week. I knew that today would be a long day for me. The desk space that they have for me was nice. There is a beautiful plant in the window that reminds me of my own plant my grandmother gave to me (I named her Beatrice and have been making sure my mother is watering her while I’m gone). After the lunch break, I continued to work on creating templates for the families we would interview in the following weeks. Later that day, the Canadian intern and I were asked to help with some ideas for the new café that AEPD was building. The paint had gone up and we were asked what colors they should use and if we thought the inside was nice. We gave our opinions and then discussed ideas for about 30 minutes then went back inside.
After work, Ngoc, Thao, Dahlia, and I went to get some tasty snacks that I had never had before. The drink had different types of sweet beans in it and then we ate spicy dumplings. We enjoyed each other’s company before hopping in a taxi and ending the day. My first week went by so fast. Before I knew it, Thursday was here, I had finished the family templates, went over a little with Ms. Hong the plan for the weeks we have left together and prepared for my visits that would officially start at the end of the week. I made sure that I knew each family story by heart and was prepared to ask the survey questions that the teams had agreed upon. Each family is so different, so I am hoping that we are able to find ways to create a sustainable plan for them and other families affected by Agent Orange.
Posted By Mia Coward (Vietnam)
Posted Jul 15th, 2019