Student Leaders: SPRINT
Summer 2011 SPRINT Teams: Vietnam
Trip Dates: August 7 - September 3
Project Description: Students will learn about Vietnamese history and culture at Duy Tan University, a SPU partner, interact with college students in social contexts and English classes and support English language teaching camps with Fisher’s Superkids Center.
After class at DTU, we walked over to FSEC. The walk was nice, because of the breeze. Once there, Zoey and I sat outside of FSEC and slowly sipped Vietnamese iced coffees, stirring them to melt the ice and cool the drink. It was so delicious! Our team slowly filtered out of FSEC, Elyse first, then Carmen, then Staci. Carmen and Elyse got coffees too, and we talked about books and life and took our time enjoying the drinks. We sat there until 4, then took a taxi to a restaurant we had been referred to a few times, called “Bread of Life”. This “Western” restaurant was started by an American couple, who have a ministry in Vietnam working with Deaf Students. Deaf students often don’t get very good educations, not being able to communicate or be communicated to, so they often don’t go past grade 5. This couple employs deaf chefs, waitresses, baristas, and staff to work their restaurant, it’s such a cool ministry! Well, we didn’t know what to expect when we went there, so when Carmen showed me the menu, (after we had already ogled the baked goods in the front glass case), I literally laid my face down on the menu and hugged it. American breakfast! We quickly and excitedly sat down and ordered BLTs, Macaroni and Cheeses, an Italian Pizza, and a Tuna Sandwich. It was wonderful, paired with Hot chocolates, a Cappuccino, and a Mocha. So good!
Later, on a second visit to the Bread of Life restaurant...
After happily consuming that food, we decided to order dessert. Meanwhile, Elyse motioned “Thank You” to one of the waiters, and seeing her sign language, another waiter came over to our table and started signing to Elyse. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. He asked her who we were, where we were from, when we had gotten to Vietnam, and where we were staying. They gestured and laughed, the rest of us watched intently. It was so cool. I loved guessing what they were saying, and understanding little bits when they used the alphabet to spell something out. Elyse beamed, ecstatic to be using ASL, and to be understood by someone from halfway across the world. The man who was signing, Chan, had a infectious smile, and a vibrant personality. He was so excited to be signing with Elyse, and the whole experience was exciting. We ate our ice cream, and Elyse and Chan talked about ice cream, what Chan’s favorite flavor was, how long he’d been working at Bread of Life, and about our teaching experiences in Vietnam. By the end of our meal, we were all happy and full, ready to nap. Elyse signed with the doorman, who called us a taxi. She was amused that even in ASL, the man’s first questions were asking her name, and her age. All of the other Vietnamese people we’ve met start conversations that way as well.
Here's an excerpt from Samantha's blog, reporting on the past few days in Vietnam:
Today we started out the day by singing songs with Professor Thinh, then went with him to tour a school for disabled kids in Danang city. There we were able to see some truly precious children of various disabilities, who were being loved and cared for. There was one little girl, introduced by our guide, who was the most precious thing I had ever seen. She was fourteen, and as I waved to her, her face erupted into the biggest smile to ever grace a face. She giggled excitedly, and clapped with glee, then she held out her hand, and had each of us shake it. She used the ballet bars to help her walk, (she was working on physical therapy), and looked delighted as we all clapped for her. She was one of the most joyful people I had ever seen, and our guide beamed proudly at the young girl, smiling at her giggliness. Our guide was a Vietnamese American girl who seemed about our age, her name was Lee. It was cool to hear an American accent again, and we talked about foods we missed, and about her mission at the school. It was really cool to hear her passion, and about the good they were doing there. One of the deaf girls at the school was a wonderful artist, and sold her art at the school.
Once we got back, I quickly fell asleep. After my nap, we went out to lunch and let Carmen rest (Migrane). We went to our TAing classes, and hung out with the students we are getting to know and love. After class, I told them about our plans to go to ice cream, and the students decided to skip class and take us to the ice cream place. It was awesome. Fourteen students came with us! After ice cream (Mine was shaped like a small panda bear, the ice cream that is. SO CUTE!), we made the spontaneous decision to go to the beach!
When we reached the beach, with Elyse leading the way, the silly Americans spinted all the way to the shore. I waded in, clothes and all. Two of the students ran in with me, and by the end only a handful had stayed dry. It was lots of sandy fun! We made sandcastles, swam, and at one point they started to bury me in sand. It was ridiculous. We got back to the room, showered off, and headed to dinner. Then, straight from dinner (Mr. Pizza, I had Spaghetti Carbonara and LOTS of cheese) to FSEC. It was lots of fun.
Now, I am thoroughly exhausted, and ready for bed. So, please pray that we get well rested tonight, and continue to learn and build relationship in this trip.
Here’s a brief report from the Vietnam team.
Everyone’s doing well, and is settling into Vietnamese culture, food and the humidity. Mornings are spent in a Vietnamese culture class, taught by faculty at Duy Tan University. This week’s course of study focused on Vietnamese food. Samantha commented, “the special dish of pig liver and heart just about soared to the top of my “Not that adventurous” list.”
The group has, however, found a variety of foods they enjoy. They’ve also been well-received by DTU students, who enjoy spending time with the team, often around karaoke.
Afternoons are spent in DTU classes, where our team helps with English conversation. After DTU, the team travels to SuperKids English Center for evening English classes for children.
On Saturday the group will help with another day-long English camp hosted by SuperKids. On Sunday they’ll take a much-deserved rest.
Yesterday was our last day with the first group of kids, and we were with them Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for 5.5 hours. the room we were in was on the 5th floor, so when the power went out yesterday it was sweltering up there! The first day was pretty rough for everyone; the students were much more advanced than we had thought, so we had to scramble to adjust. But the second day was much better, we started interacting the kids more, and yesterday ended with them all hugging us goodbye and looking at the photo album we brought! overall, definitely a success.
This is team Vietnam reporting in. We got here last night at around 5pm, and some of our DTU friends took us out for noodles. It was delicious. So far my biggest thought is: "It's very WARM", but other than that I'm very excited. Today we are going to get some breakfast, and go to a grocery store. We're basically going to enjoy our down day, take some pictures, and get used to the heat. Tell everyone we miss them!
Hey everyone! Things are pretty good so far, it's just WAAAY hotter than Alaska so that will take a bit of adjusting. Everyone we have met is super nice and welcoming and we are having a lot of fun. Last night we ate some traditional food which was really good and today we are going to a coffee shop! Tomorrow we start working and will be doing a camp for the rest of the week. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts. I love all the texts and everything that you wonderful people have sent! Thanks and much love!
We're here, and we've finally slept a good night's sleep. We met with Hang this morning to get our schedule, and we'll be contacting Hai today with a phone that one of our DTU hosts is lending us. Up until this morning, we couldn't get on the internet but Sam's computer has won the day!
Hey ya'all! Its nice and sunny/humid in good ol' DaNang. We had a full 28 hours of traveling to get here, but we have finally showered and rested. We are staying in the university just down the hallway from classrooms. When we got in last night, we felt like celebrities as we walked past the classrooms full of students. We had a few students take us out for noodle soup(somewhat like pho). It was pretty tasty and we definitely looked like fools trying to use our chopsticks. But the students were so sweet and walked us around the city. I am excited for the adventures ahead. We are going to have our first taste of Vietnamese coffee :) Bring it on!!!
Love you all!
Hey! It's Staci. I really love being in Vietnam. The plane rides were long, but fun. Some of the students that came to Social Venture at SPU met us at the airport and took us out for food. They gave us a quick tour around. It's nice to have one day to adjust to everything, but I'm looking forward to working at Fisher's SuperKids. It's super humid out. I'm really looking forward to all the adventures that await us.
Just a quick note - I received a text message from the team early this morning. They've arrived safely in DaNang and are getting settled. They'll send another update soon.
This evening five SPU students flew from SeaTac airport in Seattle, traveling to DaNang, Vietnam, where they'll spend a month volunteering with Fisher's SuperKids English Center and helping with English language classes at Duy Tan University. The group will stay in guest rooms on DTU's campus, where they'll also take a class in Vietnamese culture.
SPRINT (Seattle Pacific Reachout International) is SPU’s short-term missions program. This summer we’ll send nearly 70 students to 9 countries across the globe to learn from and serve alongside local community leaders. These students have been meeting together since February, and have spent significant time in pre-trip training to consider the impact of short-term service, ways to approach unfamiliar cultures and the role of American Christians in the global context.
Our hope for SPRINT is to provide opportunities for students to learn first-hand from leaders engaged in significant issues in their communities and to encourage others through their service.
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