Saturday, 2 March 2013

SOS orphanage, Monks, Cable cars, Roller coasters, Waterfalls. My 9am-5pm

SOS Orphaned Children's Village

Silence in the car for most of the way there.I felt very nervous and like once I’d stepped through the doors there was no going back. A whole part of this world that I’ve been sheltered from was about to open up, and I didn’t know whether that would be a good thing or not…

The village was beautiful. Little french style chalets housed a ‘mother’ with 7-10 children. But I’m jumping ahead.we pulled up and Duong greeted us shyly, he was goin to show us around. The village was peaceful and quiet and he explained as its Saturday they relax and wash their clothes and then play football in the afternoon. The village was amazing, communism at it’s very idealistic best really. Everyone lives in their own little chalet with their ‘mother’ and ‘brothers and sisters’, all ethnicities live side by side and all religions too. The children were shy and looked beautiful – like all the other children I’ve met here really.

We were first taken to Darh’s house. She has been here for the beginning – 1987, and has had 19 ‘children’. Duong translated for us that she is even a proud grandmother, and 3 of her children are now married too. She is inspirational.

The mothers are sort of like nuns. They give their whole lives to the children. They are not allowed husbands or children of their own but live in the chalets and care and love their orphaned children. Darh must have made this choice at about 21yrs old. I was overwhelmed by her selflessness. Even writing about it now is bringing me to tears. We had tea with her and just smiled and smiled.

We spoke to a few children and went to meet the newest mother who has the youngest children, it was to her that I gave my plastic bag of ‘gifts’ – nappies, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby shampoo.
Next we were taken to the boys home. When the boys reach 14yrs they live in their own building with an ‘educator’. The boys were absolutely charming and delighted to have Spiderman interrupted it seemed! As they saw us approaching they run inside to quickly tidy up! They also spoke very good English. All the children go to school with the local children too, and the Village also sends them to university and helps them get jobs. A really fantastic and very established chariety. They obviously get very good funding.

I think this was a fantastically positive introduction to the orphanages here, but I know they are not all like this. And in fact they don’t really need our help too much. Having said that we are going back tomorrow to play some games with the children. I think it will be good to get my confidence up for working in a harder poorer environment.


After the morning at the orphanage we took a taxi to a Buddhist monastery in the hills. It felt quite Greek heading up onto tiny winding roads with pine trees everywhere.

The atmosphere at the monastery was beautiful. It was one of the most fragrant places I have ever ever been. Surrounded by lush flower gardens and strong scented pine trees and then with all the burning incense.. The wind chimes and gongs were so quiet you could almost not hear them. Absolutely magic. I really want to spend some proper time with the Buddhist monks – they are so lovely and friendly (even yesterday as we were walking in Dalat in the evening, Sophie got chatting to a monk just on the street).


Next we caught a Cable car up through the hills…. It was pretty frikking scary! And of course totally cinematic and beautiful..



As if we needed to top up the day anymore we then we to some local waterfalls. As usual the Vietnamese tourists were more keen to photograph us then the breathtaking waterfall behind them… This one little boy (age maybe 6yrs) even held his eyes open wide with his hands and looked at me and then fell about laughing! So funny!

By the end of the day we were the only ones left at the bottom on the hill (which we had caught a rollercoaster down to!).Again more stunning scenery… It must be getting a bit boring for you all now right?!


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