A Great Beginning for Surprise TeamPosted on April 1st, 2010.
This was the first trip to Vietnam for most of a group from Parkway Christian Church in Surprise, Arizona. Team member and first-timer Jim Fischer tells about their trip to Sapa
Our team recently returned from a trip to the Hau Thao Middle School near SaPa in the Lao Cai province of northern Vietnam. We had three goals on this trip:
• Provide fresh clean water for the school and community
• Teach classes on health and hygiene
• Form relationships with the staff and students
We were looking forward to seeing the work organized by GVI and trying to make a difference in the lives of people of this community. As with most groups that go on this type of expedition, we received far more than we gave.
The funding for the water project had already been forwarded to Vietnam, and the work was underway when we arrived. Their skilled workers were doing an excellent job of constructing the filter and holding tanks. We were able to lend some manual labor support in hauling the materials up the rugged slope, and were joined in our efforts by several of the school’s staff. We were able to see the majority of the project reach completion before our departure, and are confident the entire system will be up and running shortly.
The health and hygiene classes were a big success. The kids seemed to grasp the concept of what germs are and how they can control them. By use of songs, props, and hands on demonstrations, the message was communicated and, hopefully, absorbed.
The biggest reward of the trip, though, was getting to know the students and staff at Hau Thao School. They were so open and fun to be around. We enjoyed playing soccer keep away, badmitten, hacky sack, duck duck goose and other games, as well as teaching them songs like “head and shoulders knees and toes”, and joining in on their calisthenics. Thanks to the donation of a young man back in Surprise, we were also able to distribute over a hundred beanie babies to the kids. All in all, the chance to start personal relationships with the children and adults was the high point of the entire trip.
At our orientation meeting we were taught the importance of “under promising and over delivering”. So, while we can’t make any promises, our entire team is certainly looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead in forming a partnership between Parkway and Hau Thao School, and deepening the relationships that were formed in what we hope to be the first of many visits.