Let’s listen to the journey of 4 Vietnamese members Tam, Yen, Trinh and Thao who joined the 2 week camp in Gangwon-do, Korea in last August, 2019
We are Tam - Maum, Yen - Norang, Trinh - Jin and Thao - Yoo Ri from Vietnam. Maum, Norang, Jin and Yoo Ri are Korean names which are given to us by Korean friends. We believe that everything happens for a reason and Korea Camp 2019 is for sure the best reason ever for us to meet each other and lots of friends from Korea, Indonesia and Myanmar and to have once in a lifetime experience in international work camp. At first, we signed up for Korea Camp with different stories about us and different purposes. But in the end, what we all crave for is to become better versions of ourselves, to feel our contribution to society and to make our youth memorable. The more we gave, the more we received and it is the spirit of “Paying it forward”, which is the true mission of every volunteer activity.
11 days passed by in Korea Camp 2019 with full of happiness and surprise will now always stay in our memories as one of the unforgettable moments in our lives.
Now let us share with you our experiences.
The first week (from August 07 to August 11):
Korea Camp 2019 took place in a small village surrounding by mountains and green fields in Hwacheon - Gangwon of Korea. It took us more than 3 hours to get there by bus from Incheon Airport. The road was long, but the view is really worth it. You could just glance your eyes out of the bus windows to see mountains, lakes and forests along the road. The Camp had total 15 of us, 4 from Vietnam, 1 from Myanmar - a lovely girl named Phyosu who is so good at Korean, 1 from Indonesia - Edi and he likes taking photos a lot, and 9 friendly friends from Korea who are John - leader of the Camp, Minwook, Naeun, Kuyhyon, Jeonghwa, Jihye, Jinyoung, Hyonji and Joungmin, and who are all so friendly and enthusiastic. At first, it was not very easy for us to communicate because only Jin and Yoo Ri know Korean in Vietnamese team and the rest of us can only speak English. However, with the greatest effort, we still could speak to each other and share our stories.
We had the chance to walk around the central of Hwacheon with streets up the hill, going pass by big ginko, cherry and apple trees everywhere on the first day. We bought some food for dinner and cooked dinner by ourselves at the house. We had to admit that Jin and Maum were the best cooks of Vietnamese team, Norang and Yoo Ri only helped to wash the dishes and prepared everything ^^.
On the weekdays, we picked chilies in a farm of a farmer who lives near our house. This was such an interesting activity because we never did it before. The chillies were so big and had delicious red color. We could not forget to take a few photos before getting to work. After picking for 2 hours, we stopped for lunch and prepared for other activities in the afternoon. In the afternoons, we visited the orphanage and nursing home for the old. One afternoon, we played with children at the orphanage, made pizza and went for a karaoke with them, which was such a blast. Other afternoon at the nursing home, we helped the old make up and dress up, prepared to take lots of beautiful photos, listened to them and shared with them our stories.
We spent our weekend at Bungeoseom – a small beautiful island in Hwacheon. And then we went to Chuncheon - a city nearby Hwacheon to try eating Dakalbi and Makguksu. After lunch, we walked around the city and stopped by Chuncheon museum – an amazing museum we have ever visited. Although the weather was very hot, we had a really great time here thanks to John and Joungmin for their enthusiasm.
The first week ended so fast. And before the new week started, we heard on the news that there would be a typhoon coming on Monday.
The second week (from August 12 to August 17):
The typhoon really came.
The weather was so bad that we had to stay in the house for the whole day. So instead of working in farm, we decided to cook Vietnamese food for other friends from other countries. We decided to make spring rolls and Vietnamese style milk coffee. We invited them to try fish sauce from Vietnam and luckily, they all seemed to enjoy them (so lucky lucky!!!).
After gloomy Monday, next days the sun came back with us, so the schedule was back to normal and we went to the corn field to work in the mornings. Some of us had to wear gloves to protect our hands when picking the corns while others brought machetes to cut down the corn trees which had been picked. We never thought we could ever do it in our life but we did it and we even finished the whole fields. Jin and Norang performed their duet while working on the corn field, which was so hilarious. We laughed a lot even though the hands of Maum became hurt because of picking too much corn and the sun burned directly above our heads :)). We still felt better than ever!!!
In the afternoons, we came back to the nursing home to massage for the old. Jin showed us how to do it by watching an online video and we taught the old to dance chicken dance. All the grandpas and the grandmas there are so strong and wise, they could repeat after just watching the video once. One evening, we prepared to introduce about Vietnam to other participants. Yoo Ri was in charge of doing powerpoint and she is excel at it. After our presentation about beautiful places and famous food in Vietnam, Phyosu introduced about Myanmar and Edi introduced about Indonesia, which helped us know more about their countries.
Some nights, we sat outside in the dark night, drinking cold coffee and played game with each other or shared with each other our stories. The moon was so bright and even there were not many stars in the sky, we still felt this scene was romantic enough to sing out lout the song “City of stars” from our favorite movie “La La Land”.
Time went so fast and the time to say goodbye had come on Saturday, August 17. We spent the morning to clean up the house, pack our luggage, sit down for the last sharing to summarize the Camp, say thank you to each other and went back to Seoul.
And now, back to Ho Chi Minh City, back to our daily work, but we all miss Korea Camp 2019 with all the friends there a lot. We exchanged our contacts and promised to each other to be the tour guide if anyone visit Vietnam in the future.
The journey has ended now but we believe that other journeys are waiting ahead us. All we need to do is to find time, pack our luggage and GET SET GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for spending your time to read until the very last words <3 <3 <3.
From Maum, Norang, Jin and Yoo Ri with LOVE
Written by Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam, Phan Hai Yen, Phan Ngoc Trinh and Vu Le Mai Thao.