Good byes in Vietnam take a long time......so many wonderful people to whom to say "hen gap lai nam sau"....see you again next year. Tears, hugs, smiles and thank you's over coffee, a meal, in the street, as the taxi arrives for the airport!
This has been the most wonderful Journey of the Heart. A balance of work and play; old friends and colleagues, new friends and neighbours, witnessing people succeeding, encouraging young girls to study, seeing our Reaching Out family learn the joys of yoga, hearing about the successes of our micro-loan recipients, being honoured by the Government for our work with victims of Agent Orange, playing with our "grandchildren", eating new delicious dishes and being absolutely pampered by our Vietnamese family.
We bought new bikes to get around and to exercise this year. Great to get up and cycle in the countryside and have a swim before tackling our work.
It was our plan to donate the bicycles once we were on the way home to Canada. Quyen helped us to get the bikes to poor children in our village.
At the appointed hour I showed up at Quyen and Binh's house to meet the People's Committee member for our village. We hopped on his motor bike, with me clinging to his tiny waist. We zoomed off for all of two blocks and entered a yard not four houses away from the one where Bruce and I had been living for two months.
The young boy who would receive my bike in a couple of days was home alone, excused from school at the request of the Party Representative so that he could meet me.
The shy lad was terrified of me and the pomp of the occasion. He is twelve years old. The altar behind us honours his mother who died ten years ago. Father is raising three boys on his own and they live with the barest of necessities.
I was thrilled that the bike was going to be used by a neighbour, someone that I had probably seen in the lane playing marbles with a pack of cronies!
This year living in a tiny fishing village, which is on the brink of development but still very traditional, was a closer look at this country of Vietnam where we have learned so much about ourselves and about living in the world.
Yogi Tea at Reaching Out Tea House
Thank you for all the comments, e-mails and encouragement from our home team. We are now settling in on Salt Spring Island. It is good to be home although we miss our family, our little house and our colleagues in Vietnam.