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#22 Peak Moments by Hung Nguyen

June 30, 2006 Leave a comment

Dear fellow Sealnet adventurers, I have been reflecting on what are some of my peaks and memorable experiences that I have during Project Vietnam, and what I have learned about life, love and leadership of human spirit from those experiences. I am taking my time to reflect and write, and will post them as they becoming clear. I would love to hear yours as well. So here’s the question for all of us: what are your top 3 (and more if you have more) peak and memorable experiences during this Sealnet adventure, and what you have learn about life, love and the human spirit? Here’s the first of 10 from me: 1. The moment when Cadao stepped into the middle of the circle and powerfully claim the Stake of “Commitment to Service, Friendship and Growth” for the whole community. For me this is leadership at its finess because it was about allowing space for trust, patience, acceptance. After a long hour of people naming the creative tension between “current reality and vision”, and brainstorming the stakes, I felt that we were getting stuck. We choose to change perspective by moving from sitting to taking a stand in a circle and face each other as a community. There was a moment right before CaDao stepped in, the silence felt almost unbearable. I had to let go of trying to “figure it out” and trust in the wisdom of the community. I notice that the harder we tried to figure things our with our brains to come up with the stake more confused and competitive we got. Many of us were trying to find the right words. My intuition was that if we keep trying to figure things out with our heads, we will not be able find the stake. So instead we held hands, feel grounded in our bodies, breath and trust in the energy of the group. I can feel the nervousness and anticipation in myself and in the group. When Cadao stepped forth with her whole body, and say the stake out loud, I feel the support of the whole community. We let go of how the words “should be”, people were just being together. For me, this is a powerful leadership moment because it is about taking risk, trusting, and allowing for something to unfold without getting attachment to the outcomes. It’s also about the embodiment of the stake. In the end, even though we arrived to the same stake that we had at the beginning of the project, now everyone can fully align themselves behind it which contribute to the success of the Vietnam project. I feel sure that all of us who worked on this project has experienced the “commitment to service, friendship and growth”…am I right or am I right? 🙂

— Hung Nguyen

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006

#21 Goodbye! It’s time to let go! by Tuyet-Mai Hoang

June 30, 2006 Leave a comment

Hello everybody, I’m so lazy to blog but now I just want to say goodbye to you all. Last night when we were all standing and holding each other, I felt that I can say goodbye to you all but those words are not enough to describe my feeling. I was confused, nervous and didn’t know what to say. I guessed I’m not strong enough to express my feeling, not strong enough to let go. My pride and independence sank down and there I realized that it’s ok to show you’re weak and dependence is not a bad thing. From now on, I know that even when I walk on my path alone and independently, I will never feel lonely again because I have you all. I have to say part of my life is depended on you. Fate has blessed me so much for letting me found you all. Thank you

– Tuyet-Mai Hoang

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006

#20 Today by Danelle Mallen

June 29, 2006 Leave a comment

Today was Mia’s 21st birthday. Understandably, she was gently awoken in the middle of the night to be congratulated. A group of us stepped quietly into her room, sang Happy Birthday at the top of our lungs, and then dragged her from where she had been sleeping peacefully to the tub for a cold shower. Fortunately, she had excellent humor about all of it, aside from not having any other pajamas to replace freezing, soaked ones she wore. Eight hours later, I was in Cam Ne for the second day of the project headed by the high school students. I don’t think I could have been more proud. Their excitement and invovlement with the children is unrivalled in my memory. By the end, the children were wanting them to come back. At their debriefing, it was easy to see how they had all been touched by the experience. In the evening, we went to sing karaoke in a dual celebration of the project’s end and Mia’s birthday. Everyone was easy, friendly, and ready to sing. It was a good evening. So what, you may be asking me, is the point of this concise overview of the day? It was the achievement of a goal shared by so many on this project. At the beginning of the project, a large number of team members expressed emotions ranging from apprehension to excitement about the coming days of the project. What nearly everyone admittedly hoped to gain from this experience was a closer relationship with everyone involved on the project. So when I saw how everyone cared for Mia on her birthday away from home, or worked with the mentees in the village, or said good-bye to Hung and Ca Dao, the love that has grown from this trip was inescapably apparent. Personally, I have never felt more comfortable around anyone, other than those who are the closest to me, than I have here. There is an unpretending friendliness and openness here that has fostered deep and hopefully long lasting relationships here. For this, all I can say, and I know it is not enough, is “Congratulations, guys. We did it!”

– Danelle Mallen

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006

#19 26th June… by Ca Dao Nguyen

June 28, 2006 Leave a comment

It’s a shame that I can’t join you guys at the banquet; I can’t be with you on the last day of our Project either. For the past 2 weeks, I have grown up in my way…. I suddenly realize that, at the end of today, I might not be able to see you guys again. I feel disappointed that I haven’t got to know each one of you the way I wanted to do, that I have to leave early and that I can’t join the Talent show which is planned by our mentees. Leng and Hung, thank you so much for being present to us. You are always there to guide us, to be friends that we can always count on. I want to acknowledge you for guiding us to go to the right direction, for helping me figure out myself. I want to thank you for the day that you helped me realize how much I wanted to open up myself. ‘Live the life of honest’, that sentence has waken me up, I has lived a life without opening up my whole self and now I feel that I am ready to share, to be me. This project has come and given me a lot, I’ve learnt about relationship, about friendship, the commitment we have to make to our community services, and above all that, I had a lesson about myself. After what we have done, I am so grateful for being given the chance to be part of this project. All the works we have done, all the people we have met, all give me a deep picture that I will never forget. Here are just some thoughts about friends that have been running through my mind. Nancy, I’m so glad that I jointed the team because I get to know many great people, among that; you are the person that I look up the most. I missed out your ‘Spotlight On’ because of my personal matter but that was one of the thing that I regret. I heard your story from Viet and I admired you so much. Our situations are somehow similar in a way but the way you treated people around you was not the way I did. You treat people with your love; you grew up in that harsh environment and still being a loving girl. I hated people; I was the world with grey colour. I was selfish, you were tolerant. I didn’t know how to share, I kept everything for myself, and I seldom talked to my parents or my brother. I admire you so much for your heart to your work, for your love to your brother. Nancy, I found in you the passion to help people with all your heart. I’ve learnt from you to love unconditionally, without questions, without expectations. I know whatever happens, you will always be a strong person and live your dream. I am so happy that I have chance to be your friend. Kenneth, Huỳnh Vĩ Hùng, wow you have such a great Vietnamese name. First thing I noticed about you was you were so funny, you still are ha-ha. I ‘acknowledge’ for being such a great co-leader with Nancy. Even though I don’t think you look mature, I still find you a good friend to talk to. You are the friend that I come to reassure myself that thing is going to be fine since you always make others feel at ease. Ahh, you are a patient teacher too, oh my god, you repeated the line ‘If you’re happy…’ for a million times, didn’t you get bored??? Ken, thank you and Nancy for scarifying your sleep hour to do the plan everyday, thank you for taking the works from Quynh so that she’s not stressed out, thank you for making things easy for me about the time, thank you for being such a funny person so that we all have a good laugh when we are tired. Bí thở, Peter, you are cute little boy. You are like a sweet young brother that I always feel I need to protect you whenever I am with you. However, I also learnt from you too. I find you really mature in your thoughts and actions. Thank you for all the recording that you made, it would make this trip unforgettable. Please send it to me please; I’m going to miss you guys so much!!! You are 16, I thought you would be just carefree but actually, you care for people around you, observe people in your way and very you are very hardworking too. So, keep it up Peter, and email me when you get into Stanford! Tuyet Mai Gas Station, hey, you are a sweet girl you know, somehow, I feel I want to know more about you, it’s not going to be possible now coz I will miss your spotlight. We did talk a lot, or I did hear you talk with other people too. When I think of you, I think about a cute little girl who are really active and also mature in saying stuff. You said you wanted to find people that you can talk about investment bank. So keep in touch, we will discuss about it. Mia Sugar Cane, your Spotlight On night changed my whole perception about you. You know that every time I see you, I feel peaceful with your smile. You are always ready to smile; I thought you must have come from the family with all the laughter, I thought that you were such a carefree and happy person. And that night, I knew that you did overcome a lot of sorrow. I was happy for you Mia when you said you were over it now, and that you felt happy. The important thing that I want to learn from you is you smile with your true self… Chi Pham, I acknowledge you for being honest at your Spotlight On night, for being so co-operative, for put your 100% energy in whatever you do. Thank you for the offer to allow me to stay in your home (I might stay with my auntie’s friend for now in Saigon) even though you didn’t know me that well back then. You are sometimes a quiet observer. You remember the Spider Web workshop; I was so impressed with your enthusiasm to help the team, to encourage the team that everything was going to get done. ‘It’s possible, I’ll jump I’ll jump!!!!’ it was so brave. Phuong Huynh, you are an understanding sister, you are always willing to help figuring things out. Thank you for a wise advice to Quynh when she had problems, thank you for leading the workshops. I hope you’re going to do well in your study in America and we’ll meet again. Thank you for sharing with me the thoughts about parents, I believe that you are growing up along with this project too. Brooke, my idol, I do admire Brooke and Danny for coming to this project with all your heart. Brooke, you are full with energy and I can see how enthusiastic you are with the project. You are always ready to step up to air your thoughts, you are ready to sing and sing well. I acknowledge you for being a good mentor to Nhu, always be responsible and caring. Remember to buy some coffee before you go, make coffee with the thingy and with condensed milk of course. Phuong Tran, strong woman with black is her favourite colour! You have such confidence and strong personality with you. I have a feeling that you are going to do so well in whatever you choose. I’m really looking forward to seeing you in LSE. Phuong, you have 2 sides about you, one really strong, one really sensitive. You can be confident but also easily being touched. I hope you live the person you want to be. After last night, I felt that I am connected to you more. At first, I did feel disconnected from you; you looked cold and a bit far from me. But the more we talk, the more I feel I know you. Shi Hua, first time I met you, I thought you were in university doing 2nd year or something like that, I couldn’t believe that you were doing your master. You looked so young. You are a caring and sweet person. You care for friends in your way. You can talk, or you can wait and see. You always bring your baby with you ha-ha, I think you are funny too. By the way, I will send you the picture of the singer that I told you. Good luck with your job. I hope that when I go to Singapore, you can give me a tour around the city. Chi Chi Chành Chành, like a litchi, always together in branch, soft and sweet, that is how you describe yourself. You are only a small girl but you never hesitate to do all the hard work. You always try to overcome your weakness and develop yourself. Two consecutive workshops, we can see how hard you try to overcome the fear of speaking in front of the big group. You love people without asking for return, you help people without their noticing. But we do realize that you know, and thank you for that. Danelle Mallen, I didn’t know that you learn Vietnamese until yesterday. I remember there was one session that we talked about our problems. You were so sincere to talk about yours. You are calm which is opposite to me, ha-ha, I am loud. Thank you for telling me about your dream, I wish with all my heart that you will reach your dream to be a good writer. Quynh Pham, you always eager to do thing, you are willing to help us in everything, you are still young and you are in the process of growing up. I’m impressed with your enthusiasm and energy. One thing I want to tell you is you have to take care of yourself too, don’t overload yourself with works, and ask for help when needed. One thing, you are a great singer! Thai Huynh, a big brother with a big smile. I can see in you the affection for children, for be Thuy, cu Thinh. I hope you carry this with you always. You are there to help, to talk. You join with people whenever they need you. You care for your friends, for people around, never hesitate to do anything. Tuan, there is something about you telling me that you have a strange personality (positive way). You always have the mature thoughts and you are good at what you are doing. We don’t talk much then I don’t really get to know you that well. I just hope that things will always be a challenge for you. Wei Siang, even though we work with each other in Finance, we don’t talk much. Your face is scary sometimes to me as we first met. But the day you show your care to your friends, especially me on the day I went to get the projector, I feel I get closer to you as a friend. Actually, I was hoping somebody was there since it was late and I hate it going up by myself at that time. Thank you! Tracy, I’m glad that I had the interview with you. At least, I had the chance to get to talk to you more since you are busy with recording. Before you and Stephanie came, all the members told me about how great you are. At the interview, at first, I was not really comfortable but then, think about it as the conversation between us, I felt more convenient talking to you. I shared with you my thoughts and I luckily had the chance to listen to what you thought about me too. Tracy, the work that you do is really important since you make my first experience here unforgettable. Thank you for that. Stephanie, I feel so bad that I’m in charge of lunch and dinner and I keep forgetting you are a vegetarian. And then you get sick, I think it’s because I didn’t let you eat properly. I’m so sorry, Steph. Thank you for doing the documentary. Thank you for having such a good heart that you’re going to take care of be Thuy. This summer has been my most memorable summer. I’ve met all good people, learnt many great lessons. This project Vietnam has made me realize about myself, about people, about the world. This experience I am going to carry with me. This is one pace that later on I can look back and say: ‘That day, I changed, that day, I started growing up’.

– Ca Dao Nguyen

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006

#18 Service Project Day by Mia Nguyen

June 28, 2006 Leave a comment

***This post is belated, because my user name wasn’t working before…. Yesterday was a very long, exhausting and exhilarating day! The SEALNet members woke up in a beach resort near Tam Ky and headed out to the local middle school. We learned that the school has over a thousand students and no computers, so our impact by bringing in 3 computers would be huge. The SEALNet team broke into 3 groups: teaching English to the 7th graders, setting up the computers, and cleaning. Dani, Viet, Peter, Nancy, Phuong Huynh and I were on the cleaning team. It was a little scary because there were HUGE jumping spiders that we had to sweep out, but we made the job fun by listening to music at the same time. We ate a seafood lunch on the beach and Kenneth dropped his cell phone in the sea water and it broke a little (oops). We had free time for an hour so some people hung out on the beach while the others (including me) wandered around the village. We met some kids and gave them little toys and pretty soon we had a small parade of little kids following us around. The people living in the village were very curious about us and everyone stared at us from their houses as we walked by, but they were also very friendly and waved and said hello –one man even said “bonjour!” I guess he thought we were French. After lunch we went to the high school to have a social with some students there. We were expecting 15 students or so, but it turned out to be over 40 kids! We played games with them and Nancy taught them to dance the Electric Slide. Very tired, we loaded into the vans to drive to a school in Tam Ky where SEALNet had set up a computer lab last year. The director of the school was very nice and welcoming and we enjoyed singing song after song after song with him. By this time, it was around 6 pm and we headed to Hoi An for dinner and shopping. We had a really good dinner of Vietnamese pizza (?) and white roses. Then we all wandered around the city shopping; a lot of people got clothes tailored and Stephanie got lost for like half an hour. Thankfully she found her way back and we all came back to the hotel to take a badly needed shower and sleep!

– Mia Nguyen

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006

#17 Happy Birthday Mia Nguyen by Thai Huynh

June 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Before I get to my blog, I would like to take the time to say Happy Birthday Mia!! You’re finally 21 and that means I’m not the only 21 year old on this trip! Last night, we decided to sing Happy Birthday to Mia, so we all snuck quietly into her room. Mia, who was supposed to be asleep, started laughing. It was hillarious! We all sang to her and then decided that she need to “cool off” for her birthday. So I ran into the bathroom, turned out the shower and Tuan, Kenneth and the rest picked her up and put her in the bathtub. My oh my was she wet! It was really cool until she somehow took the shower head out of my hands and sprayed me down. My oh my was I wet! So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU MIA!!! I hope you have a great 21st.

– Thai Huynh

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006

#16 Funny Stories by Quynh Pham

June 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Ok… Nancy asked me to blog everyday to record random funny stories in PV06 but I was overwhelmed with workloads and totally forget doing this. I notice that everyone wrote serious stuffs here. As I said before I’m a fun-loving KID so I’d like to contribute some fun here in addition to these burdening and exhausted days. Here u goooo…. Well let’s start with today. I went to the SOS village for the mini project. I tried to teach them the song “If u’re happy and you know it…”. BUT the kids didn’t listen to me as “You have such a terrible voice” (quote one kid). Oops… JH, see it. I prove u wrong… So, we played games after that but I was too tired + lazy to do anything else, therefore, I just sat there and observed our mentees do their project. We have two Tuan in PV06. The “big” one is the mentor and the “small” one is the mentee. The small Tuan (mentee) had trouble in owning his space. He was really clear about what he wanted to do BUT no one except for he himself knew what was going on in his mind. Thus, he ended up with some little troubles. Tuan let the kids play a game in 15 mins and then suddenly stopped them and said “So, ok. Here are the instructions”… hahaha… The big Tuan, Tuyet Mai, Phuong Huynh, Thai and I brusted into laughs. We didn’t intend to do this but something so funny at the way the kids acted that couldn’t make us stop laughing… The group goes to SOS village returned to the hotel at 6 pm. And my parents were already there to invite the whole group to have dinner at Lang Co. We did pass the longest tunnel in SouthEast Asia. The food was so good. We had some dancing and karaoke after dinner. And it was the time that I spoiled everyone’s ears with my terrible voice (uh oh.. sorry). And here are some funny stories in the past days. On the way to Tam Ky village (the poor village in Central Vietnam where my dad was born and grew up), I sat in the front with Wei Siang and had some little conversations with him. After talking nonsense for a while, he suddenly asked a weird question. Eh hem, here it is. “Does ur name mean “a pig”?” 0_0. Uh oh… *_*. Wei Siang saw the pic of a little lovely pig in my avatar and thought that was me. *_*… But actually he was right somehow. My friends here call me “little pig”… But, oh well, whatever. hahaha. I’m still a little pig then. And Wei Siang keeps in mind that Quynh means a little pig. Just wondering Wei Siang, how can you come up with that idea? Mistaken the name of the beautiful flower to the name of a pig. The next day after we arrived Tam Ky village, we went to Tam Tien Secondary School in the morning. SEALNet members slipted into 3 groups: one went to clean up the school, one went to teach English and one went to set up the little lab. The teaching session was really great until we taught the kids an English song “If you’re happy”. We taught them sing simple sentences first and then asked them to sing the whole song with us. This is the very very normal process to learn a song. BUT what’s weird here is that we had the most patient teacher in the world – Kenneth Wong – in our group. He did show a really great patience when kept saying “if you’re happy”,”and you know it”,”if you’r happy and you know it” for like thousands times. AND he should have kept repeating and repeating and repeating that forever if only Brooke didn’t put her hands on his shoulders and said “STOP”. hahahahaha. Wow. this is the first time ever had I known such a patient teacher. hahahahahaha. Now, shift your concern to Nancy. One night during our “short” debrief which always lasted for more than 1 hour, one thing happened to Nancy. We were doing ownership at that time . Nancy stood near the door and gently and slowly lied back to the door. BUT the door wasn’t completely closed which also meant that she lied back to an opened door. You can guess what happened next: she fell on the ground. Some of you may start wondering whether or not she was ok. She was fine but it was so funny the way she fell. hahaha… (sorry Nancy) There is something really weird about Nancy. She told me a secret and asked me to keep it secret. I did. BUT still everyone in PV knew about this… how come?… the answer is simple… nancy told me to keep this secret but she didn’t tell herself to keep this secret. that’s why after she told me about this fun stuffs and turned to tell wei siang, shi-hua, peter and ca dao about this. and of course, that’s a funny stories and the ppl who were mentioned above told others about this… and the secret ended up as a well-known funny stories in PV.. well… nancy, do u want me to let everyone know about this???? yeah that’s all i can remember for now. it’s 3am and i have to leave at 7am tomorrow… will do blogging more next days…. and forgive me for all the grammar mistakes, i will edit this post asap.. ^_^

— Quynh Pham

Categories: Project Vietnam 2006