On Thursday Linh took me to the shelter. At first, I explained what a survey/questionnaire is. We drew a survey form on the blackboard and the first question I asked was how many people live in Vietnam? Answers varied from 80 thousand to 90 million…
Next, we went to Wikipedia and found the Population section on the Vietnam page where we checked the number of people living in Vietnam (even though it is not up-to-date, it says more than 84 mil). We repeated this exercise for Russia. The girls didn’t know that Russia is bigger than Vietnam. Then we found some continent maps on Browse in Other section (without Internet) and located Ho Chi Minh and Moscow on the map of Asia. Next I asked them to find my home town of Sochi. They were looking for it very hard with no success. I had to announce that it is not on their map. They sighed “Oh, no” and then laughed. I explained that population of Sochi is only 300 thousand that is why it is not on the map – it’s too small.
Then we did a survey of what they want to become after they finish school. The answers were: a singer, a model, a hairstylist, a teacher, a cook, a waitress and an accountant (Hanh). Linh wants to be a hotel manager. I said that when I go back I want to do something different from what I did before. They tried to guess: a teacher, a housewife, a babysitter? I told them that one day I want to become a writer, so now I’m doing a blog and writing about them. They were very proud of me and looked at me with a lot of respect.
We talked about who is going to high school after finishing middle school. Only Bi wants to go to university, everyone else wants to do some kind of training: 1 year for a hair stylist, 6 months to become a waitress, etc. We wrote everything on the blackboard (see picture).
Linh brought a bag of T-shirts to give away. Her aunt opened a shop and Linh has too many shirts she doesn’t wear, they girls were very excited … They are girls after all 🙂
They asked me how long will I stay in Saigon, I replied that only three weeks left… But I promised to show them the Internet, help create Facebook profiles, and then when I’m away we can write letters to each other. Downstairs I bumped into their teacher Yen. I explained to her that now children can type in Vietnamese. She thanked me.
As I was leaving I saw Hanh (who didn’t attend the class). I asked her if she is a good student. I see her read and study a lot. She confirmed she does like to read very much. I also know that she won some storytelling contests. I was curious: which books do you want me to look for so that I can download them to the computers? She said: first, books about how to learn new things to get a job and make money, and second, books about other children without families, how do they live their lives without parents. OMG, my heart sank, I immediately thought of A Little Princess, Matilda and Captains Of The Sand by Jorge Amado. A Russian movie called Italian… I promised to do some research and try to find good books for her in Vietnamese… Is this mission impossible?