Monday, May 26, 2008

Ready, Set, VMO!


Y-Nhy helped Carolyn order a pho for breakfast, and she said it was the best pho she had ever had in her life. We all donned our cute little scrubs, and got ready for fun! Everyone was excited because this was our first working day, and we couldn't wait to meet the kids!

We left our hotel, the Nhat Thien, and took an hour bus ride to an orphanage/school in the town of Binh Duong. Along the way, we picked up the doctor who would be working with us for that day. After we filed off the bus, the nuns and other ladies showed us around the complex. They gave a brief introduction of the place in Vietnamese and led us to their infirmary, where they kept medical records of the children in small green notebooks.
After that, they showed us to another room, where there were a few beds upon which some sick kids lay. They were absolutely adorable! We gave them some toys, and took some pictures with them. They looked so young - some of them looked five years old when in reality they were in their mid-teens!

Some of us wandered around another corner where a teacher was teaching a class full of children around kindergarten age. After gushing over them, we turned back to the infirmary where kids in blue button-up shirts began filing in. They were so cute! Many of them had hearing problems because it was a school for the deaf/mute, so they couldn't understand the Vietnamese speakers either.

We played with them for a while as everything was getting set up. Although they couldn't speak, their smiles and laughs spoke volumes. Some of them were initially quite shy, while others played along with us enthusiastically. The kids especially adored Amos, and couldn't stop poking at his biceps! It was awfully adorable! We passed out notebooks to them, and the teachers helped write their names on the front of their notebooks.

The medical station that we set up went as such: height/weight measurement, blood pressure, seeing the doctor, and the pharmacy. After that, they each got a well-deserved treat! Choco-Pie! Each of us rotated around the various stations to get an all-around feeling. Working with these disabled kids was such a rewarding experience, and it also gave us a chance to interact with real patients (not to mention we were getting better and better at manually measuring blood pressure)!

By the time lunch rolled around, were weren't even close to being done with everyone! Because our afternoon was already booked, we scheduled ourselves to come back sometime in the next couple of days to finish our job.

The bus dropped us off at a very nice, scenic restaurant in the middle of nowhere. It was situated near a river, and all the vegetation around it was a gorgeous lush green! There were monkeys in cages, and even a huge python. Some of us took turns holding the python, but others of us kept our distance!

We had a choice of eating on a very large, beautiful boat or just outside near the river where we could also enjoy the spectacular view. We decided to skip the boat, and just eat outside.

They led us to a long table, and we took our seats. The menu was huge and it was quite interesting to say the least. The Vietnamese readers patiently translated the menu for those of us who couldn't understand it. Amos ordered crocodile and let us try some of it since most of us had never had any.

After our lunch, which probably took about two hours, we drove to a hospital where we were able to tour the premises. It was a hospital for alternative medicine, and they had employed some really interesting techniques, such as using wax to wrap the limbs of arthritis patients and using electrotherapy.

The ride home was long and tedious. Most of us were really tired, and the sweltering heat certainly didn't help that matter. Kelly had quite an adventure on the bus. We passed by the Americanized district of Saigon. There were a lot of designer stores and tall hotels. We decided we wanted to explore that area later.

Later that night, Norris called some clubs and karaokes around town to do some early scoping, because we wanted to get out and relax during some of our free days. The karaoke staff tried to pawn their call girls on us, and it was quite amusing.

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