After the government oversaw us handing out the food to the families, we then got on the bus and went to the villages to visit a few of the families who received aid. (The villagers, however, had to strap the bags of rice and supplies to their bikes and motorcycles and carry them back to their homes themselves. Doesn't make much sense, but we have to comply with the government or else we can't provide any help at all.) We drove many more kilometers away from the city and eventually split into two groups and were directed around a tiny village where we saw how the families we had given food to actually lived.
Just like in the other areas, children were running around everywhere and so curious about us. When they looked at me with their hopeful little faces, it was hard not to pick them up right there and take them all with me. I wish I could give every one of them the life that they deserve. Even their parents wish the same thing; on more than one occasion parents have offered their children for us to take them to the U.S. In this village, we were actually invited into the houses, even though half of our group could barely fit into a living space that usually holds up to 10 people. For some of the families, their entire house was the size of my bedroom at home. And the kitchen is outside, with one water pump for the whole village. I hope that some of the pictures can be passed along. I don't like taking pictures myself in the villages. There are so many of us who have cameras, I feel like it is overwhelming to the people there. Also, I can't focus on talking to the people there if I'm worrying about taking pictures of everything. Especially in these small towns, being able to talk to the people is an incredible experience. Through the translator provided to us by the government, we were able to hear the stories of 6 different families. I wouldn't give up that opportunity for anything.
When we returned from the villages, we had some time to ourselves, which is pretty much a luxury around here. We are always are doing so much in all of our days, it is hard enough to even relax for a second. And my mind is always going a mile a minute with every new place I visit or thing I see. I am in constant amazement here of just how different things are here. And really, the poverty here is how the majority of the world lives on a day-to-day basis. That is something I am still trying to grasp entirely.
We're off to eat dinner at another Vietnamese restaurant. Last night we went to a traditional family style Vietnamese place. We had to bring our translator along just to read the menu! It's great being able to try so many new things, but every time I sit down to eat, I think about the children at the orphanage and the poor people of the villages that we've seen and talked to. They aren't really that far away from us as we stay in Hue. And even when I go back to America, I know they won't be far from my mind.
I hope everyone is doing well at home. It's weird to think that Christmas is in just a few days. That is probably the last thing on my mind here. I can't believe we only have a few more days in Hue. I already miss it. On the 20th we'll be heading to another city, Hoi An, to stay for a night, and then we'll fly back to Ho Chi Minh City for another night before we fly back home. We'll be visiting another orphanage and a few more villages along the way. Hopefully I'll be home on the 23rd if we don't get stuck in the Chicago airport they day before Christmas Eve.