March 27, 2013

Santa Barbara Schools - Mekong Delta

Team Building & Fun on the 
Mekong Delta

By Bea

Today, all of the girls went out early to begin what would be everyone's first time washing their nasty clothes...the Vietnamese way.  The girls went first.
Step 1: Throw all your revolting, sweat-ridden clothes into a big bowl and make detergent rain on it, while adding water.
Step 2:  Mush around your clothes with your hands, or pretend the clothes are grapes and stomp them.  (You will begin to notice that the water is becoming increasingly darker.) 
Step 3: Take the clothes out and empty the bowl, and fill it up with fresh water.  Put your soapy, kind-of-dirty clothes into the bowl.  Repeat Step 2.
Step 4: Repeat Step 3.
Step 5: Wring out your now fabulous clothes and go hang em' up on the line out back.

It was a fun experience, since we had never done such an everyday thing before.  After that, we had a breakfast consisting of eggs, limited mangos, and bread- Yummy!

Soon, we were off on our bikes into the city.  We biked through the lively, rampant city, stopping at a snake market along the way.  Some of us couldn't bear to look at them slithering about; some wanted to buy a snake and call it Smiggles.  The markets are always hectic and filled with people, but we all made it out alive and back to our bikes.

The gang biked into the more crazy part of the city, and soon made our way into the side streets with a guide to help us.  After a long while, we ended up outside a Vietcong general's house from the Vietnam War.  Upon meeting him, we all sat down for a cup of tea.  Whenever we asked him a question, he would stand from his seat at the head of the table and give a heroic speech in Vietnamese with hand gestures.  Everyone asked good, educational questions and we all got deep answers.  What surprised most of us was that here was this general, who had been through a war, letting his enemies into his home for afternoon tea.  To forgive in what may seem like a long time, but truly is short, is remarkable.  To be able to talk to a high-authority man in a normal setting about his rough experiences is brilliant.  There are many people who would not believe a group of young Americans had a pleasant meeting with a Vietnamese general.  To add to the profoundness, his son had died in the same war we fought him against.  He is a marvelous human being.
We all hopped onto our bicyles and were off into a more rural pathway.  It was interesting to see that a main path lead through a neighborhood with shops, too.  There were tiny bridges and long rivers that cut through our path.  Little kids and folk waved at us as we rode; whenever we go anywhere, we are always assaulted with 'hi's and 'hello's!  We stopped at a farmland where a monkey bridge appeared.  A monkey bridge is made up of frail, thin, long logs.  It is hard to cross them, but we must all be monkies; we all made it across.

We traveled to a long basil farm where a man had scissors and sat in the fields, cutting chunks of the plant off.  Mr. Dorfman asked us a good question: "Would you rather work out here in the fields or in an office building in the city?" I would rather work in the fields, regardless of pay.  It would be calm and tranquil in the outdoors.  Besides, this guy's basil field was giant! One would think he makes a good profit from it.  Many of us wanted to work in the offices, though.
We got onto the bikes and rode to the boat, where it took us to the Wifi Cafe, where I'm sure many of us contacted loved ones, and looked at their brackets for March Madness.   The food was good; everyone stuffed their faces with watermelon, noodles, and fried chicken.  We came bak to the homestay for a long amount of down time, that also included a group journal session.  Dinner came around quick.

Then the competitive part comes in.  Mr. Hau set up 3 games for us.  The teams were as followed: 1. Pierce, Jack, Kayla, me: 2. Carter, Daniel, Malaya, Mr. Dorfman.  The first game consisted of Mr. Hau hiding garlic in a plate of flour, then having to fish out the garlic with only our mouths.  It was a tie, but one thing was for sure...we had flour all over our clothes, lips, and faces for the rest of the night.  The second game was having two people fill a ballon up (the filler could not touch the balloon) and then carry it back without your hands.  THAT was a tie, too!  The final game was smashing pots blindfolded, only having the guidance of your team mates. I lost the game for my team, so team 2 won!  We ended the night with a round of karaoke.


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