On Friday we went on our first field trip of the year with the high school students. I was excited to get out of my office and get some fresh air for a nice change of pace. I was assigned to Group 3 as the photographer, so my basic duties all day consisted of taking pictures of the kids so we could put them on the school website. Sweet. This I can do.
We took a 2 hour bus ride to the Chu Chi District, a town in rural HCM City. The place we were visiting was called the “Heart and Soul of Vietnam”, and was set up to show how Vietnamese people lived in the past throughout the different regions. There were people making authentic Vietnamese crafts, like candles and wood carved figures. Traditional houses had been constructed to show how people lived in the North, South, and Middle region of the country. It was in one of these houses I discovered bats are a native animal here as well. I was trying to take a picture of a beautifully carved piece of wood inside a dark, dank room when bats started zooming past my head and out the door. I wasn’t too far behind them and I didn’t dare go back in to get the picture either.
Some areas were set up to show how people used to preserve and prepare food. Large jars with pickled fish didn’t look all to appetizing. Luckily this was not the only option they had in the past. Stations showing how to prepare different grains and rice were hands on activities the kids could try their talents at. I’ll be honest though, if I was relying on them to pound some grain, I would most likely starve. A modern adaptation of an old technique was the sugar cane press. This press squeezes sweet juice out of the sugar cane for you to drink. It has a slight grassy taste but other than that it is really good.
Overall the kids in my group were really well behaved, especially considering there were some students in another group who were caught drinking during the lunch break. I guess these kids aren’t too different from the ones in America after all. But the best part was that I got to see a new part of the country and also get some good pictures. Can’t wait to see where the next field trip will take me.