The next day, a welcoming ceremony held by Thu Duc University students was waiting our arrival. We had a simple conversation and it was an excellent opportunity to learn about Vietnamese culture for the first time.
Doing service activities in a middle school was the best part of our schedule. They showed us a tremendous amount of love and warmly welcomed us with our service activities which gave us a fresh breath of courage and energy. We performed an education service in one high school and it put us under considerable stress due to language barrier. Fortunately they were no ordinary students-they were the best students in the school, and it made a push for me to study English harder.
Then, we continued our service activities in an asylum for the elderly. We were divided into a couple of groups and put our best effort to make them happy. We decorated and cleaned their rooms, clipped their nails, and drew together. We served them with love and smiles. During these hours, I tried to sympathize with their physical and mental anguish by imagining myself being their granddaughter. When it was time to take off, some of them kept holding my hands and said "thank you".
The last place we visited was an orphanage. There was no surprise welcoming party because most of them were laying on the bed and unable to move by themselves. At first, I was unfamiliar with taking care of children in such a condition and it seemed my unskillful care was not welcomed. However, the children later noticed I was trying to be nice, then they gradually came to me like old friends. The children's body odor, saliva, and other smells became familiar to me and I had good grasp of their behavior.
We all kept thinking about the spirit of service activities and showed them our love and respect. Soon they started to treat us like their friends or family. Even though we had different appearances and languages, there were no real differences between us, because the spirit of our service activity and our warm hearts brought everybody happiness and unity.
I finally realized that there are many people in the world who need my help. We are living in a capitalist economy and everyone is chasing money and gold, so we are losing happiness and joy of sacrifice and service activities. I sometimes wish that I could just step out of this materialistic society and look around myself and others in order to lend a helping hand to those in need and give them "LOVE."
저작권자 © 영남대학교 언론출판문화원 무단전재 및 재배포 금지