By Steven Smith.
On November 28th Paul and myself boarded our plane which leaving Melbourne would start our mission experience and see us spending the month of December in Vietnam. We went into our mission with three goals in mind:
1) To learn about a culture different from our own.
2) Help teach English to students in the parish we were to stay.
3) Gain some great experiences that we could bring back and share with others.
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) around 8pm and soon discovered just how hot Saigon could be. But thankfully we also discovered just how friendly a place Vietnam could be as everyone we met was willing to try and help us and not once during our time did we meet someone who didn’t greet us with a smile and either a handshake, wave or even a hug.
We spent our first 4 days in Saigon becoming accustomed to the people, culture and the food, exploring the city. Before we knew it our time was up and we were flying to the Vinh Giang parish in central Vietnam where we were to spend the rest of our mission experience. We were welcomed by the Parish Priest and community with open arms and quickly made to feel very welcomed and part of the community.
During our time, we helped teach English to the students in the parish, and met with many families and groups that helped to make up the community of Vinh Giang. This at times included large amounts of food and drinks that took some time to get used to. We also attended different Masses, events and celebrations. Soon our time was up and we were making our way back home, we left though with far more than we had arrived with and this did not just include our luggage though we did manage to find a few souvenirs to bring back with us, we also returned with friends, memories and great experiences to treasure.