The one picture

April 23, 2009

This picture pretty much sums up my experience of living here in Thanh Hoa.



Fellow fellows and I took a trip to the mountainous region of Sa Pa and it completely restored my mental health! (Thanks guys for a great trip & for letting me steal pictures.  I’ll post mine on facebook soon.)


In other news, I have 4 days left here in Thanh Hoa.  It may seem like a short time, but who knows what tomorrow will hold…

Read about and watch a video of my adventure in the field!

Click Part 1
Click Part 2 (Trust me, it’s worth it!)

Fellows, literally IN the field

Fellows, literally IN the field

The Borrowers

March 26, 2009

I’m more than halfway through my fellowship and it has not been just fun and games.  As many other volunteers in Thanh Hoa will tell you, 5 weeks is around the time the rose-coloured glasses come off.

Even still, there are occasional sparks of light and warmth that can be found.  Here are some of mine…

FPW borrowers

FPW borrowers

These are some of the women that I have visited here in Thanh Hoa.  I’ve met farmers who raise pigs to earn additional income, a woman who plans to open her own juice restaurant (her drinks are delicious!), a 23-yr old woman who works all day to support her children, a widow who lost her husband in the Vietnam war…

They remind me of why I’m here and why I am happy to stay.

Vietnamese food is delicious and although many of you probably won’t believe it, I’ve been learning how to cook!  (I’m told I’m quite helpful but I’m not convinced…)

I am usually in charge of washing rice & peeling potatoes... an incredibly important job.At Tinh’s house, I’m usually in charge of washing the rice & peeling potatoes… an incredibly important job!
Tinh's in charge of everything else... especially the cooking part.

Tinh's in charge of everything else... especially the cooking part.

Then, on another occasion, I was invited to a lovely Vietnamese family’s home for dinner and I had a small scare involving a knife and my thumb, but all’s well!

prior to the thumb incident

prior to the thumb incident

slaving away

slaving away

It tasted even better than it looks!

It tasted even better than it looks!

I’m already four weeks into my fellowship and as I anticipated, it’s been full of surprises!

A consultant by training, I’m in my element when I’m in an office, laptop in hand and armed with my shortcut keys. This is why I jumped at the chance to conduct my first Kiva training session. We pulled together a Power Point presentation, drafted and translated ‘cheat sheets’ and were ready to go. …or so we thought… Talk about an emotional journey!

The day started well with,….

… read the rest & see my video by going to the Kiva Fellows Blog

for those of you that were too lazy to click on the link!

Where’s my WD-40?

March 2, 2009

story in real-time:

I’m currently stuck INSIDE my office….

Today, everyone from FPW is attending a training session across town.  (After 10 minutes of unfamiliar Vietnamese accounting terms, I decided that my time would be better spent in the office working.)

When I got here, the door was already unlocked so I just waltzed in, no problems.

10 minutes ago when I tried to go for lunch, I packed up my things, got to the door with key in hand and tried to lock the sliding-bar padlock …. but the bar wouldn’t slide through both latches.    I tried everything I could think of!  Lifting one door while pushing the other down to try to level the latches, pulling the bar through the other way, twisting and turning to try to change the axis,  I even tried to use my chapstick as a pseudo WD40. Needless to say nothing worked and the padlock now smells like lemon Lip Ice.

I’ve called to be rescued so hopefully someone will get here within the next hour…  I just know that as soon as they come, they’ll lock the door in under 10 seconds.

“things are going well”

February 19, 2009

How are you?

My first Kiva Fellows Blog

February 13, 2009

EVERYONE  go to …

I’ve just posted my first fellows blog!  You should read it!  (Be sure to comment as well)

KF7 Kiva Class – January 2009

Kiva Fellows KF7

Things I thought I couldn’t live without… but am living without…

1.  Movie theatres
– actually there is one that’s located in what seems to be a classroom.  They literally turn off the soundtrack so it’s completely silent (no sound effects, nothing) and there’s a woman who sits in the back with a microphone translating parts of it into Vietnamese.    ……… I didn’t believe it myself.

2. The ability to communicate with words
– There are very few (around 3) english speakers here, but I’m learning Vietnamese so that should help.

It’s been an adventure so far!

At least I think it’s funny… Sarah, I bet you think this is Super Cheese!

Another amusing picture