My parents have always said how lucky we are and they have always stressed the fact that they never had what we have. And usually I would ignore their long lectures and talks. It wasn’t until I went to Vietnam that I understood what they were saying.
Right when I took the first step off the plane, I felt it. The hot rush of air hit my face. Struggling to stay awake, my nose was dripping of hot sweat. I had my first humid breeze of Vietnam.
The Vietnam cars and streets are all different. The lights are red and blue arrows and the cars are smelly, hot, and very loud. Our family of 24 squeezed in a van for 25 minutes with tons of luggage all piled on top of one another. I knew this trip was going to be a long and bumpy ride.
My family went to a outdoor restaurant where you would sit on stools 6 inches off the ground, tables that were about to break, and kids, half naked, begging you to let them polish your shoes for money. They were no older then 9. He then approached me, and asked “ma’m may I polish your shoes?” Instead of letting him polish my shoes, I handed him a 100,000, which is 20 dollars in American money. He then thanked me and ran away.
On Christmas day we had dinner at my uncle’s house and I decided to leave early. I approached a girl, whom I thought was one of my relatives, and I asked her, “how come you weren’t at the party?” then she replied, “I’m not aloud to go. servants aren’t aloud to go out, we are only to clean and cook.” As I watched her walk away, I looked at my sister and learned that she is a 14 year old servant. Her parents sold her when she was 5 years old, and my grandma had bought her from the streets. I couldn’t understand and believe how young she was.
We later visited an old church in Hue, the middle region of Vietnam. My brother and I went outside and a kid, came to us asking if we would buy a paper fan. We agreed and as I took my money out to pay, another kid, the same age came running asking for a fan. Moments later 6 other kids came running asking us to buy a paper fan, before I knew it I had bought 5 paper fans, and 10 kids were jumping up and down. As I look at each one of their faces, one was burned from head to toe. His hair was dried and burned. My sister then called us and we walked to the car and the kids continue to follow us. Once we got into the car, close the doors and start the engine, the kids ran against the car and banged on every window and door. The kids ran, until the security guard took a big stick and beat each one to the ground. I looked back and all I saw were young children running around and some on the ground.
On the airplane ride home, I looked out the window and flashbacks of all of the incidents that had occurred through the last 2 weeks, ran through my head. Vacations are usually to relax, but mine was the total opposite. I got more then 2 weeks of relaxation, I’ve gotten a life lesson. Places as beautiful and sad as Vietnam makes me want to make a difference in the world. And I promise, I will.
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