Thursday, February 11, 2016

A School Visit to Vietnam

On a small riverboat in the Mekong Delta.
Last January I had the honor of being invited to speak at the Saigon Pearl International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was my first time to Vietnam, and only my second time to Asia. In most of the other international schools I have visited abroad, most of the student body is made up of non-native population. At Saigon Pearl, most of the talented, enthusiastic students were Vietnamese. The staff was welcoming and energetic, and obviously very inspiring to their students.

A young artist at Saigon Peral.
Ho Chi Minh City was bustling and bursting with vitality. Tet (Lunar New Year) decorations were everywhere, with cartoon monkeys ready to usher in the new year. There was way more scooter traffic than car traffic. I paid a local to spend an hour zooming me around city on the back of his, weaving in around the hundreds of other scooters. It was the most exciting ride of my life!
Scooting around Ho Chi Minh City.
I was able to spend a day touring the Mekong Delta. This is a fascinating region were people live on houseboats, and there are floating markets were locals sell their produce. Evidently there are more roads in the area now, so trucks deliver most of the goods, greatly reducing the number of boats used for commerce. I also learned how the local agriculture sustains the residents, with a variety of fruit that is harvested from the forest, and the wide expanses of rice patties.
Happy New Year!
Growing up in the late 60's, Vietnam loomed large in my consciousness. As a young child, walking in the woods near my childhood home in Pennsylvania, I would hear occasional gunshots echoing through the trees. I was unaware that there was a firing range not too far away. I thought it was the Vietnam war raging in the distance. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to encounter this rich culture and spend time with these wonderful people.

The courtyard at Saigon Pearl School
A boat on the Mekong Delta.

A temple in Ho Chi Minh City

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing your pictures and hearing your stories of travel in Vietnam. I've spent some time in Cambodia. It's a wonderful part of the world.

    Thanks for sharing!