Monday, 11 March 2013


The Lantern’s restaurant in Nha Trang is well worth a visit. Not only do they do delicious food and sell handmade trinkets from local minority tribes, but they also do some amazing charity work.

We were privileged enough to have the opportunity to help out at the Monday Food programme. Every Monday the restaurant provides free food for homeless locals. We arrived at 10:30am and helped to pack up boxes of rice, courgettes and pork. Even with all the advertising around the restaurant we were the only two to show up to help out. This in it’s self made me so angry I was close to tears. There are thousands of rich tourists and so called ‘well-travelled opened minded’ travellers in Nha Trang and yet we were the only ones there.

After packing up the boxes and chatting with the waitress the queue outside the restaurant was growing. About 50 men,women and children were waiting for the food. At first it was exciting to be handing out the food parcels but as the pile depleated and crowd got more desperate and were pushing and grabbing to get the food.
I soon realised we did not have enough. And that was really really bloody hard. As I handed over the last box I couldn’t help it I burst into tears, so did Sophie – we quickly retreated to the bathroom. Two drippy rich white girls are no help to anyone. And I know I need to learn to ‘man up’ if I am going to continue to be part of this kind of experience.

Talking to the waitresses after we heard many more inspiring stories of the work the restaurant does. As they don’t really take cash donations we bought some of the jewellery instead as any profit from that goes into the charities the Lanterns supports. This experience has really fired me up to continue with our voluntary adventure and to keep opening my eyes and mind to all experiences.

We needed some reflection and relief so headed to a temple and then a catherdral for the afternoon. Had the experience of sitting inside a huge bell as it was stuck and a monk chanted around me. What a day.


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