Hong Bang

Monday, 21 Aug 2017

Articles

cuong_bigCuong, OV 2007-2008

Even though I have never been a teacher before, and despite it being extremely nerve-wracking standing in front of a class, I have given my all and I’ve pulled it through. I had no regret in doing what I did because I believed that the people I helped saw that in me.

For six months, I volunteered at Phuoc-Loc vocational school. It was located at Ba-Ria, Vung-Tau. My job here was to teach English to a group of female students who aspired to become professional house-keepers. They came from all around Vietnam. Besides teaching English, I also taught cooking, house-cleaning, and basic computer skills as the needs arose. Visiting the poor and the sick was another activity that I normally did with a sister every Wednesday when our schedule allowed. In addition, once a month, I accompanied a team of doctors, dentists, and social workers from the social service office in Saigon to do health-screening and medicine distribution to sick children and adults in rural areas. I will not forget the moments I spent time with the children at Mai-Hoa Aids Center. I was not aware that numerous Vietnamese still had such heavy stereotype toward HIV-infected people despite much public education effort. I was touched by the sisters’ gestures toward these dying patients. The lovely children would not let me go. They clinged onto me like ants swarming sweets. The desperate yearn for love was the reason. I cherished every moment that I have spent working here in Vietnam. I am lost for words because time has flown by so fast that everything seemed like yesterday. That is how you can tell that one has enjoyed his/her time with the volunteer work. In all honesty, I have enjoyed everything that this volunteer work has to offer: the places, the trips, the food, the hot and humid weather, and especially the people I have encountered. I am proud of myself for this volunteer job accomplishment.

Mother Teresa has once said, “It is not how much you give but it’s how much love you put into giving.” Even though I have never been a teacher before, and despite it being extremely nerve-wracking standing in front of a class, I have given my all and I’ve pulled it through. I had no regret in doing what I did because I believed that the people I helped saw that in me. I have told my students that even if only one of them had the determination to learn English, it would still worth my time to teach that one person. When Sr. Pascale told me that I will be teaching English at Phuoc-Loc vocational school, I knew what I have to do to help these girls reach their full potential. Life experiences have taught me that being financially poor is different from psychologically poor. These girls have what it takes to be good at what they do; they only need someone to bring it out and consolidate it for them. You can fulfill your dream if you put your heart and mind into it. I am an example of that and I want to show them how it can be done.  Telling my friends that I taught English in Vietnam would sound a little cliché, but one can only fathom the experience if full energy and heart were invested into it. That was what I did. I not only taught English, I also squeezed in life lessons whenever applicable. That was the only way I got to know my students and they know me better.