Santa Barbara students in Vietnam
Day 8 - Hanoi/Friendship Village
Today, our second full day in Hanoi, we ventured to the outskirts to visit the Friendship Village. As we were further informed by the headmaster through translation by our tour guide, Friendship Village is a completely free school for victims of Agent Orange. The school is funded half by the Vietnamese government and half by corporate and private donations. The school's main purpose in educating these children is to teach them skills that will help them make a living in everyday life. They set up classes for the children that have less mental restrictions that can give them the future opportunity to provide for themselves, such as embroidery, sewing, and computer technology.
Walking around these classrooms and visiting the children while class was in session was really an amazing way to see the effects of the war and how often it is still present in the lives of these people. Many of the children are mute and deaf, while others have physical deformities, all of which limit their opportunities in the real world.
I think I will take a lot from this experience because it was all so real and significant. It was almost as if everything I had ever learned fell away and the reality of these people lives became my reality, as well making my own experiences and understandings that much more clear.
Excited to see you soon!