Lily, Vietnam

First few days in Vietnam


Lily (C) with volunteer partner Isabella (L) and local teachers

Isabella and myself have been in Hai Phong for two days now and already we have met so many lovely people and seen so much. Our placement is Hai Phong Vocational College of Tourism and Services which is about 20 minutes from the city centre. It is a big college with lots of wide open space and large buildings. The guest house where we are staying is very spacious and has all the facilities we need. I had no idea what to expect from the college or the people and so far; both Bell and I have been pleasantly surprised. Every person we have met has wanted to help us as much as possible and make us feel at home (even if it means feeding us chicken feet). We have sussed out the city on the back of motorbikes but have no idea how we will go finding things by ourselves!

Monday – Fried rice mission
Today Bell and I attempted to find a place to buy fried rice somewhere in the back roads behind our college. We had been shown the previous day which place sells the rice however things look different when you are dinking on an old pushbike. Although we did not manage to find dinner, we did however survive our first time riding in the traffic and were amazed at all the locals’ reaction to seeing foreigners in their town. People stare at us, wave, say hello and yell out other strange things in Vietnamese which we are hoping is friendly… I feel this may be as close to famous as I’m going to get!

Lily & Bell's transport for the next 3 months

Tuesday – Lunch date
Today we joined the lovely Miss Ha for lunch in her house. Her husband made the most amazing meal which contained the best spring rolls we have had so far. We were then offered nap time where we were given our own room of the house to take an hour nap. This seemed odd at first but were were glad of in the end. We are so welcomed wherever we go here and it’s an amazing feeling.

Thursday – “Best friend”

Today we were awoken by a very excited, out of breath student who we had never seen or met in our life. She, without hesitation, invited herself in and found a place to sit on my bed. Her name was J’amie and I have never met anyone so happy and enthusiastic about life (in a sort of crazy way). She asked us every question under the sun and then informed us that she is now our best friend and that she will visit us every morning and then she was gone.. By this stage I was still trying to wake up and comprehend it all.

Everyday is a new mission and something exciting and unexpected is guaranteed to happen! So far it has been such an eye-opening and rewarding experience and we have only been here for a short time. I am super keen for the next couple of months and can only imagine what amazing adventures are to come.

Submitted by: Lily Evans