Vietnam: day one

Arrived in Vietnam yesterday after a total of 18 hours on a plane. Yes 18 hours between 2 international flights. Still jet-legged but enjoyed a beautiful day in Bà Điểm, the village my uncle is from. I was able to meet all of his wonderful relatives (basically the entire village) and spend a day in the Bà Điểm market.

Tomorrow we will be going to Ho Chi Minh City to visit several orphanages. I’m bringing social emotional lesson plans on self esteem to do with the children and some school supplies. One of my uncle’s relatives told me today there are at least 3 orphanages almost right next to each other in the city. Adoptions to the US were closed for some to time from Vietnam, due to concerns for corruption (women being paid or coerced into putting their children in orphanages). Although these laws have the best of intentions on paper, the reality is that this has increased the number of children in orphanages. And institutionalized children are at a much greater risk for severe developmental and mental health issues. Attachment is key in development and crucial for overall healthy social and emotional well-being. In crowded institutions, however, there is no time for individual attention much less building key attachment relationships. I hope to post more tomorrow and more specifically about the work that we do there. Thanks for reading!

Best part of Vietnam so far: family, family, family! Already feeling at home here with my uncle’s relatives, and of course, with great family comes great food. Fresh mangos, lychees, and coconuts for breakfast? Yes please. 🙂

Worst part: giant (prehistoric sized) hissing cockroaches in our room. They fear nothing and for someone who doesn’t have the heart to kill normal sized insects, killing something that literally feels like it has bones is not going to happen. Hopefully my bug spray barricade around our door will help tonight. Goodnight!

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