Here is part 2 of my Summer in Vietnam series! I will apologize ahead of time for this part of the series.. It’s a bit scrambled and super long because it’s impossible to sum up >___<
Peace House in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh
The entrance is behind the curtain and this is our living room.
View from the roof
To the left of the tracks, we would walk on the other side of the fence and turn left into the alley to find our house.
Every morning until 9am, if I peaked my head outside our front door, this lady and the man in the white hat had their little shop open and sold Pho, which a lot of the volunteers would get in the morning for only 10,000 dong (16,800 = $1 USD).
To start off, Janeemebe found the program that we went on for us =D We went through this online website called International Volunteers Headquaters (IVHQ), where we signed up, chose a country, paid a fee, and chose what kind of living situation we wanted to be in; the two choices were either home stay or dorms, and we chose the dorms. (Btw, if you are curious about this IVHQ thing and are considering it, please let me know if you have questions!). After we do all that IVHQ finds us a program in that country, in our case, it was Vietnam; the program was called Volunteers for Peace Vietnam (VPV). From there VPV does the rest of the work and volunteer coordination.
For those that don’t understand what the Peace House was, here goes! The Peace House was the living space for all the international volunteers to stay at. Instead of a dorm though, it was more of a house with 3 floors, and 2 bedrooms on each floor that would accommodate 4 people per room (remember, houses in Vietnam/Asia are more about building upward than horizontally). Jane, Em, and I stayed in 1 room together, sharing it with another volunteer. Not only were the accommodations more that we hoped for, we had a cook come 6 days a week and cook delicious food for us twice a day; she was suppper nice too =D
The Peace House is an amazing place to meet incredible people. Why? because you know those people WANT to be there, paid to be there, and are doing it for a good cause; it’s not like school and such where you run into punks that are full of themselves or are there only because they are forced to. The Peace House was a place where people around the world united to work to better society. People would be rotating in and out of the house often because volunteer increments ranged from 2 weeks to months. What was beautiful was that it was easy to talk to everyone even though everyone was new :]
After we ended our days of volunteering and would return to the Peace House around 4-5pm for dinner, everyone would plan activities together like going to karaoke, bowling, shopping, go to beaches, or even weekend trips with tours and exploring Vietnam. For the most part, everyone was around our ages, which made it even easier to get along. There were people from Australia, England, Ireland, France, Singapore, Canada, and a lot from the USA. Not only were there international volunteers, but also local Vietnamese volunteers and the staff that made the Peace House even more amazing. How often do you get an opportunity to meet people from around the world and do something like this??
Bowling! Bowling alleys in Vietnam are better than the States.
Group of newbies! This was taken at District 1 (which is the foreigner and rich district) during our city tour.
1 of the Karaoke nights
This was taken as a last group photo as Em, Jane and I left the Peace House 😦
Everyone in the Peace House was kind, funny, and thoughtful. The time we spent there was way too short and went by incredibly fast because there was also something to do and someone to talk to everyday (especially since the 3 of us had each other). Departing the Peace House was pretty rough since that meant that our volunteer time and days at the Peace House was over ;__; I will try my hardest to stay in touch with people.