Dropping everthing to go to the session
Although very busy with their daily works on the fields, shrimps nurseries and fish pools ..., they were all happy and proud upon receiving the invitation for the session. Mrs Năm was enthusiastically sharing her thoughts: "My husband and I decided to leave behind all works in order to participate in this session because of the well-being of the whole family, for the future of our children. I have endured a lot of hardships in life and I don't want my children to suffer the same". As for Mrs Thơm, not only she's not showing up for work but she's also "luring" her husband to come along with her at the parenting session despite the fact that one invitation was valid for one person only. She said (about her husband): he's a rustic person, often abusing and scolding for no reasons. I wanted him to join with us to learn new lessons on how to love wife and children and to take care of the family appropriately."
Looking at sunburn dark faces which have traces of worries due to a poor and hard life, but still reveal some bright and shining smiles when coming to the session, we felt touched and motivated to keep doing the project.
Name tags up side down
We already knew that the majority of adults in this area are illiterate, and that's fairly common in recluse rural villages. But we were still surprised to see some of the parents who had trouble wearing name tags onto their cloths. We had taken precautions to clearly write these names and make them as lisible as possible but many of them had put their name tags up side down. A little embarrassment when we help them to rectify the situation, but they regrouped quickly afterwards and started to smile and to send us friendly looks.
Special feeling for the "teacher"
Personally, for me, that session had brought me nice memories and a lot of joy. The group was full of dynamism, earger to learn, and actively participate in every activities I'm proposing. I felt and I received very special feelings those simple parents express towards me.
Before I started the session, the official representant of the village was asking the audience a challenging question: "how old is the teacher?" That's quite interesting to see several people in the group were trying to guest my age: at least 36, some said. Others found that's too young and increased to 38. Some others even mentioned the age I could not think of even in my wildest dream: 40, 42 or 46!!! Unable to explain and not willing to tell my age but I'm truly touched by their interest about me.
Two day session was not a sufficient period to explore the whole subject of parenting in every detail. But a lot had happened in those 2 days. Small stories containing reflexions, positive feelings and emotions become precious experiences of life that I could obtain as a result of this return trip to Cồn Bà – Tiền Giang.
Cồn Bà, Tiền Giang
Translated by Bui Minh Son. Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Nhật Ký Ngày Trở Lại: Những Câu Chuyện Cảm Động"