On Thursday I asked to go with another group of volunteers to Leaf Pagoda to teach English. It took us about one hour and half to get there by two buses. Leaf Pagoda has a temple and living quarters, which about 20 monks and 40 boys call home. Children show up here from different parts of Vietnam, and monks take care of them: feed, educate, teach household chores. When children grow up some of them become monks, others leave Pagoda. Here is the link to their website: http://trungtamhuyentrang.com/trangchinh/
There were no children in the morning at Pagoda, as they went to the market help monks buy groceries. So we had to stay throughout lunch and mingle with local volunteers who accompanied us to help translate if needed. Volunteers told us about the upcoming holiday and New Year Celebration on Feb 14 (according to the Chinese calendar). There will be a big celebration this year, as New Year’s Day falls on Sunday and coincides with Saint Valentine’s Day. Monks gave us delicious lunch. It seemed like they gave us the best they had. Soup was with yummy vegetables and tofu.
After lunch we divided into groups. Peter and I taught boys football lingo, emotions, occupation and body parts. It was extremely hot. Boys were very polite and diligent, even though not all had the same level of English.
After we returned to Peace House 2 and had dinner, I walked to the VPV office. I had an appointment with Ken, who is in charge of teaching activities at VPV Saigon. As it was very noisy in the living room, we went up 4 flights of stairs to the roof. I gave him a presentation about OLPC and demonstrated an XO. I asked him: what is the best school to teach children XOs? School, where there is no technology yet, but it will be welcomed so that children can learn a lot.
The decision was made – I’ll be teaching XOs four times a week at a shelter for girls near Peace House 2, which is about 10 min ride by bike. One local volunteer will assist me.
But first, I have to create curriculum and run it by Ken. I was so happy to finally start my Saigon OLPC deployment. Finally it is not just an idea anymore, but reality.