Hanoi in the morning of January 23rd, unlike other days, all our members in the volunteer team of Mai Chau Ecolodge were present at E2 Hall of the Company earlier to prepare for the trip called Annual Community Support. Na Nieng Hamlet – Cao Bang is the destination of this year in the long journey to bring the laughter for the highland people.
At eight o’clock, we began the journey, straight to the direction of 1A Highway with approximately 280 km sitting on the car. Indeed, only when we go and sightsee, we had just recognized that the nature of Vietnam is so beautiful and majestic. However, this is also a big challenge for small people, and we were just wondering that how people in the highland to live in the difficult conditions like that? At 4 p.m, we set foot on Na Nieng and walked to the village to reach to Mr. Cuu’s house where all members in the team would take a rest in the coming days. No matter how beautiful the yellow afternoon sunshine is, it's impossible to hide the desolate scene of the last days here: the barren and discolouring paddy fields; people hide in the house to get warm; only some children gathered to welcome our volunteer team with the amazing gazes.
After asking the situation of Mr. Cuu’s family, we together started to prepare dinner first. Despite there are many people in our team, we had not been familiar with the inadequate conditions here, so after more than two hours, we already had dinner with Mr. Cuu’s family. The meal is really simple but so warm and so delicious. There was no television and city light, only the laughter was enough to drive away the coldness in the late winter.
After having dinner, Mr. Huy – Sales & Marketing Director of Mai Chau Ecolodge – the leader of the team met and greeted to the family of the head of the village and the head of woman union to make the consistent voluntary activities program of the team. Stay up early after the long transfer day but we did not stop to think about the tasks of tomorrow.
24/01 – A meaningful day: In the early morning, we started the first activity to help people here build the hedge on the hill to prevent buffalo and cow from coming to the stream; our target is to bring the clean water to the entire village. When we got there, all people have started work for a while. We along with people here moved trees, tied each tree segment together into a solid hedge. The task seemed to be simple but we found it difficult to do. Look at the skillful hands and a smile as blooming on the lips of people here; we felt to love more the simple life here. On the contrary, Look at our clumsy hands, all people also laughed cheerfully as if they had seen the children learning how to walk by toddling. Finishing the meaningful morning with people here, the whole team came back to Mr. Cuu’ house to have lunch and take a nap and prepare items for the gifting activities for the poor households.
Follow our missions, we quickly moved the whole items to the cultural house of the village, checked the gifts for the last time and waited for all people coming. Our cultural house was soon full of people; immediately after seeing us, the elderly and young children smiled shyly but also hidden the eagerness. As a result, these gifts were handed to each poor and lonely household. Those were extremely practical items for the daily life such as sugar, salt, candy, food, boots and clothing, blankets, etc. However, we had really seen the joy in their eyes and smile and even those of us. No joy is greater when we have been completing our tasks.
Before finishing the activities of that day, we also show the cartoon and short drama for children and people in the village to watch together. It was more than we expected, even to the elderly and other people were also interested in the movies that we had spent many emotions and time to prepare before. Look at the images of people watching and laughing cheerfully, even they also regretted when the film ended, we felt extremely happy. Finishing a voluntary day with many emotions, we came back to the familiar bed in Mr. Cuu’s house; each member also got the own thoughts but we had a common feeling when thinking about that we would say goodbye this peaceful land to return to the busy city on the following day.
25/01- Goodbye Na Nieng: As a habit, we get up early and prepare to tidy up the personal belongings, then all people boil sweet potatoes together for breakfast; we make use of little time left to talk more to the family of Mr. Cuu so as to keep more memories in this land. Tidy up all items, say goodbye to people in the village, the volunteer team comes back to Hanoi. It's no longer the bewildered gazes as the first day we arrived, instead of the radiant smiles and waves as saying goodbye in the warm atmosphere. The car starts to return to Hanoi; the volunteer team actually had the invaluable experiences with the highland people and the more difficult lives than ones in the city; had the opportunity to contribute the youth, share the feelings hidden in the heart. That is actually an ineffable feeling. Have we brought the laughter to Na Nieng or those simple and rustic people sent the laughter and the meaning of life to our young generation? And another thing is that our journey will not stop here.