“There are meetings with strangers. There are some first encounters. There are unfinished stories, we won’t know what future holds if we don’t continue our journey”.
As my friend, with whom I had a memorable trip to Minh Dam Mountain, asked me to write down this article about the feelings of the trip, I felt quite worried. It was very extremely difficult for me. I like writing romances but am unromantic.
I worked in VHV after a challenge program to Bu Dang- Binh Phuoc, which was a life changing experience to a new place with new friends. However, what I am going to write about is another story which is more interesting and lively.
Two weeks after the trip to Binh Phuoc, VHV had another challenge to Minh Dam, Vung Tau. I was so eager to take part in that trip, meet my friends, share fun stories and feelings left after the first trip and make more new friends that I could not sleep the night before. I wondered how to greet my friends. Should I embrace, smile or simply shake hands. Above all, I was really excited about the mission to organize a teambuilding game.
Actually, when we got there all the volunteers were still hesitant and didn’t want to talk much. People were unsure of each other’s names. However, everything changed completely when we took part in the organized teambuilding games, such as crawling through the cobweb, moving together and fetching the water to cook rice. All the men knew how to look after the girls and carried lots of things including all the wood for the fire. The boys could especially show their strength when they carried the girls in hammocks. Vietnamese volunteers were very eager to show foreign volunteers how to play the games. The members in purple team composed a song and taught Juliette Dumas how to sing it. She sang very well:
“ Đi hẹn hò là đi hẹn hò
Em và bồ hai người tâm sự
Em hôn anh thì anh kiss em
Mình không kiss em sẽ đá anh”
We started that morning with a lot of smiles. Although all of us had to move a lot, no one felt tired. After many active games we set up camp and prepared to cook lunch. Honestly that was the first time I had had a good meal like that. Everyone cooked well and skillfully.
But that is not all, that afternoon was a beautiful memory for us, the whole team was cooking while moving around 6 km to the beach. Luckily it was sloping down and we all were eager to sing out loud. How gorgeous Vung Tau beach is! It was more interesting when everyone enjoyed the time there by cooking their own meals, which made that meal the best we’d had even though the rice was clammy or hard.
The games on the beach were interesting. Everyone was extremely eager to play. We ran around the pillar 10 times before sitting down on balloons to burst them. Some volunteers couldn’t burst the balloons, even after 3 or 4 times. Some people fell over on the beach. Everyone laughed a lot. They were very happy but hated me because I was the leader of all the games. They pulled me into the sea. I was also bitten sharply by the person who told me to write this article.
We welcomed the night by singing with a guitar and grilling seafood on the beach. After that we climbed up the mountain to set up camp, which was very difficult. However, we still finished quickly while listening to ghost stories by Nguyen Ngoc Ngan.
On the second morning of another memorable day, we had instant noodles for breakfast before climbing up Minh Dam Mountain which is 300m above sea level. It was a difficult mountain path. It was very difficult for me as a leader, because it was a new way up to the mountain following Villagers’ directions. I also wondered if everyone was healthy enough to conquer the peak of the mountain.
When I stood on the top of the mountain, the air was very fresh and all my tiredness disappeared. I saw sweat, blood from grazes and I saw legs starting quivering because of being unfamiliar with hiking up the mountain. However, I was happy when others encouraged me, shared their water and smiled at me.
Maybe our life skills, skills of first aids or skills to deal with the problems were still not good enough, but our solidarity made this trip meaningful.
Sometimes I wonder what our goal in the future is. To me, life is trips, life is falls but we can stand up afterwards and carry on. Our life journet still continues.
“There are meetings with strangers. There will be some new first encounters. There are some stories which are not finished. We won’t know everything in the future if we don’t continue our trip”.
And then I will show my memorable photos, and talk to my friends, my brothers, my sisters about those trips and those people- VHV!
Anh Lụm Kim Cương