Coach for College 2011 travel blog

It is so crazy that the program is nearing the end. The hours go by slowly during the day due to the demanding schedule, heat, exhaustion and just all around insanity, but the days have sped past. The kids are starting to realize it is almost over too, they have been walking around asking for pictures of us for them to remember us by.

A lot of the American coaches today were talking about how we are all curious about how we have impacted the lives of these rising 7th graders. Did we help them realize their potential? Did we encourage them to set goals or higher standards for themselves? We will probably never be sure, but I hope we did.

Today for our leadership class our lesson plan instructed us to ask the kids what they envisioned themselves doing when they were older. When we went around the kids what they wanted to do, most of them said they wanted to be professional athletes, doctors, teachers or police officers. A few said they wanted to be pilots as well. It sort of made me sad to hear all those lofty goals because chances are, very few of them will have the opportunity to get that far in life. Even more so, those that are able to pass the college entrance exam, the government will them chose their careers for them. Welcome to a communist regime in a 3rd world country.

Anyways the kids were all great today. Got attacked with my digital camera per usual, most of them were deleted. I had my morning red team remind me of my childhood by asking them to show me how to fold paper airplanes. I don’t remember exactly how they were folding them, but I am pretty sure they made more complicated ones than I made as a child.

I also taught the girls in the afternoon yellow team some English words, and phrases. I showed them “I love you,” by pointing at my eye, then my heart and then them. They loved it and kept asking me to draw it over and over again, and then on their shirts. After that I taught them, “You are a star!” Their English is good enough to understand “you are” when I write it, and then I drew a star at first, then wrote star so they understood. And, the other new one I taught today was “Yo!” Which is quite funny and adorable to hear them say.

Over the past 2 and a half weeks, I have taught some words to other kids using basic body language. A few of the girls in the morning green team and I spend physics classes and soccer practices pointing at things or making motions then saying words in English or Vietnamese. I guess it is sort of like our own language. The favorites are “sleepy,” while tilting your head and resting it on your hands, “hot,” while fanning yourself, and my favorite to hear them say, “smelly,” when they plug their nose and wave their other hand in front of their nose.

So tonight, Keith, Tweeh and Jinh (finally learned the name of the other physics translator, and fun fact she knows Korean as well), and I will meet for the last time to go over a new physics lesson that we will teach Wednesday and Thursday. I am glad this is our last meeting, since I somehow lost my lesson book today. It got lost in translation from the elementary school, to lunch at the site, to my room, not quite sure where it is, but I hope it turns up since I had some really cool drawings the kids have made for me in there.

After our meeting, I might start putting things aside for extra travel into my backpack. The 7 of us that are travelling (Ashley and Alicia will not be joining us), conjured up the grand idea of keeping one hotel room in Ho Chi Minh city while we are traveling through Thailand and Laos for a week and leaving our huge suitcases in there. That way traveling will be more convenient and light. Since things in Vietnam are much less expensive, and we are splitting it 7 ways we don’t imagine it will cost much at all. Our CBA’s tell us the benefits far outweigh the costs.

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