Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Vietnam (Day 3)

   I don't know how I managed, but I signed up for pretty much the same service visit two days in a row.  I was a little disappointed at first, but then I realized how excited I was to go back to the School for the Deaf and see all the kiddies again.  :0)
   It was just as fun as I thought it would be.  The kids remembered me and were very excited that I came back.  I couldn't participate in the first activity that the kids and SASers did (standing and running) so I drew pictures of the kids with the animals from the zoo from yesterday.  They thought it was really cool and drew some pictures of the zoo animals for me too.  :0)  

    Once again, the picture book was a fantastic thing to have.  The kids loved going through it and showing me the signs for the pictures.  We had the added component of me acting out the some of the pictures.  They were very interested in the medical pictures so I showed them where all the things were in the body and where the braces went.  It felt very cool because I could see that I was teaching them things.  They would excitedly show one of their teachers the new things they were learning by explaining them in sign.  We didn't even come close to speaking the same language but I was still able to use my limited knowledge of the world to show them something new.  It made me start wondering if I may want to be a teacher.     I also learned some new things myself.  Lots of new signs and how to write the names of things in Vietnamese.  

   I still probably wouldn't consider this a good example of service learning.  I remember when tourist used to come to my elementary school and we always thought of it as us doing service to them for allowing them to come and showing them our school.  I imagine that is what the kids here think of all of us coming as well.  It doesn't really matter whether it was service or not though.  I had so much fun, and so did the kiddies.  :0)
   I hung out a lot with my little buddy from the day before.  He was just as rambunctious as ever!  He was the kid in class running around while everyone was coloring and poking people or stealing their crayons.  :0)  

I think he met his match in this little one.  haha

I REALLY didn't want to leave now that I had spend so much time over two days here.  The kids kept sneaking downstairs to wave goodbye and give me a last hug as I was waiting for the bus.  :0)

Our next stop was quite a bit more sobering.  We went to an orphanage for kids with disabilities.  Once again, my views on the trip differed from most people.  They were sad because the kids were disabled.  I was sad because they were abandoned by their families and there weren't the resources to help them meet their potential.  There were kids laying in beds all day and I could just see it in their eyes that they could think far more than their bodies would let them act.  It breaks my heart that at home, these kids would have an electric wheelchair and assistive communication device and could do almost anything any other could have.  Here they had to lay in bed all day in a room with forty other kids and only two or three staff members.  That is to say nothing negative about the facility.  THey were actually doing a wonderful job for what resources they had.  The place had an excellent playground, decent medical facilities, and some trade classes for the older kids.  There was a much better staff or kid ratio than in some other places and the staff was all very caring and attentive.  There was a therapy room which I snuck into while my group went up stairs so see some more rooms.  It was really interesting to see a therapy session.  I talked with the women working there and between the four of us we communicated that I was a therapy student.  THey were really excited that I was going into that area.  I was worried that I was getting distracting so I excused myself and headed out to the courtyard.  I have to say I was a concerned at what I saw of the therapy session.  There were three kids to one therapist and they weren't really interacting.  The therapist was sitting there putting a puzzle together and the kids were looking around the room.  The therapist didn't really do anything to engage them even though I could tell they were definitely capable.  It added to my feelings of frustration that these kids would never be able to reach their potential.  

On a brighter note, some of the kids were only at the orphanage for day care.  They got to go home with their families at the end of the day.  I was so happy that so many of the kids actually weren't abandoned and and had homes to go to every night.  It was nice to see that there were resources for families with kids with disabilities because this is often not the case.  

I rejoined my group and we handed out some toys and played with some of the kids for a while which was really fun.  Then it was time to go and a short bus ride back took us back to the ship.  


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