The 2017 Vietnam Antipodeans trip was one of the best experiences of my life. The people we met at the amazing culture that we were immersed in was truely eye opening. Each and every one of the group recognised the immense impact a single action can have, and with this mindset how we can help others.
After an 8 hour flight, then a 3 hour one, we finally flew into Hanoi. Stepping outside was a huge shock to the system, about 30 degrees and extremely humid. We stayed in a hotel in Hanoi, before driving out the next day to our Community Project. We stayed in a beautiful home stay, just 50 metres down the road from our community project. The four of us leaders were invited into their home, to learn about what and why we were going to be building. The woman in the house told us she had three sons, and they all had to leave their families to work in the city. Their wives were left with their children, and we were going to be building them another room. For the next few days we carried bricks and mixed cement. Once we had finished there, we started off on or 3 day trek across the mountain region. We stayed at home stays along the way, and enjoyed the lush country side (plus swimming in a waterfall!). After that was Ha Long Bay, where we slept one night on an old junk boat. We went swimming, kayaking and even explored some caves, all whilst surrounded by the beautiful water. We returned to Hanoi, and explored the city a bit more through tourist sights and museums.
I learnt that no matter who it was that came on the trip, if you are with for two weeks straight, you are bound to become friends. So many unlikely friendships formed whilst we were away, which would never have happened without the journey we went on together. Despite having to overcome our differences, as a group we learnt to accept and work with each other in tough situations, and to encourage each other when some of us were struggling or felt down. Situations like these helped our team members to better understand another, and to bond into the amazing group we have today.
By the end of the trip, the team was tightly-knit and many close friendships had been made. On our last day in Vietnam, our team gave each other simple bracelets that signified the importance of each and every person, that would later become a reminder of our incredible time in Vietnam. It was an experience we will never forget.
by Alice Church, Year 9