South Vietnam

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Maria Santana

Norte Dame Cathedral in Saigon
Norte Dame Cathedral in Saigon
Children always waving and saying "Hello"
Children always waving and saying “Hello”
Floating Homes where families dedicate their lives to fishing
Floating Homes where families dedicate their lives to fishing

It has been a busy week for all of us and it still continues to be. A lot of readings and papers to get done all while trying to absorb everything around us.  Since Thursday evening we have been traveling on just a back pack with a week full of clothes-it’s not as bad as it seems honestly. On Thursday we packed up all our stuff and off we were on a 18-hour train ride to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We made a new friend that night; it didn’t talk much, but it loved our trash. Sadly, it was not welcomed by all of us so we had to get rid of the mouse. The view outside our window was incredible- large limestone mountains, rice fields, bright green trees, and a light gray cloudy sky. Saigon is much different than DaNang-modern architecture all around and American corporations at every corner(Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King) it was shocking. Nonetheless, a lot of French influence, many which are mentioned in our readings. Now we are hours outside of Saigon. There are no American corporations, just small shops where families are trying to make a living. These past three days have been a humbling experience. From doing a home stay with traditional southern Vietnamese music, meals, and witnessing hardworking individuals sweat to make a dollar and some cents a day. I am very fortune to be here and these are experiences I will never forget. Vietnamese are extremely smart, selfless, and dedicated humans. I’ve seen many families make a life out of a floating home and boat. We’ve seen a lot, learned a lot, and I am still trying to process everything.

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