English Teaching in Hanoi – November 13

Today is our second day working.  The NBK group didn’t have to be at the school until the afternoon, while the Blind-Link group was on basically the same schedule as the day before. John was trying to figure out his FaceBook address so he could give it out in class for those that asked. Linda was going shopping after breakfast.

Apartment "classroom" at Blind-Link.

Apartment “classroom” at Blind-Link.

At 9:00, the taxi arrived and after arriving at the spa, we walked upstairs to the small but tidy apartment where we do our English teaching. Each of us teach two or three massage students. Today, one student, Trang, had a day off but she was replaced with Ha, her husband. Ha, to my surprise , knew quite a bit of English. He could carry on a great basic conversation. He already is giving massages to clients at the spa and in fact, had to leave at one point because a customer had come for a massage. My other student, Song, a 29 year old married man seemed quite happy to study English again today with me. Also, he seemed more relaxed and more verbal than the day before. I have to admire Song as he also goes to school on the weekends to get his high school diploma, plus he has a wife and nine year old child. Lan, my assistant has been a great help during these teaching sessions too.

Lunch was great again. All the volunteers and assistants converged around a dinning room table to eat fried spring rolls or Name, noodles, sauce and some green leafy herbs. It was wonderful. After lunch, I took a walk around the local streets, noticed some very nice restaurants and coffee shops that I can have coffee at next time.

Roger and Blind Link students.

Roger and Blind Link students.

At 1 pm, we were all taken to the Blind training school. We walked up to the third floor, where I meet the same three students from the day before. Mr. Tich is a 45 year old man who two years ago had sight and was the owner of his own furniture store doing business with China. He is very enthusiastic but his English pronunciation in generally not even close, even with repeated tries. Yet, he smiles continually and loves stoking my hand or arm, and me gently squeezing his hand when he speaks. I have to admire his determination and effort. Mrs. Thuy is 34 and is a victim of Agent Orange. She has two sons and has some blurred vision. Ms. Lan is 16 years old, knows the most English, and has a 4-year-old sister who is blind too. Today, I worked on body parts with this group and I thought they made progress.

My second group of four is quite similar. Two students are totally blind and two have some sight. Three were adults and one young man.  Coming for the second day today, they already seemed more comfortable with me and my voice. Both groups are quite low but I might be surprised with the progress they could make in just two weeks, as I was a lot more optimistic today than yesterday.  After class, a older man, likes to come up and pat my stomach and say in perfect English “too many beers?” Then we both laugh and I say “no, just too much food”.

The drive back to the hotel didn’t seem any shorter today, but at least it was earlier. Thankful Pam had tactfully  shorten our schedule with Blind-Link after the first day so we were not as exhausted.  Now on to enjoy the evening; free to roam the street and enjoy the sights and sounds of Old Town.
-Roger
Quote: “If you cannot do great things, do things in a great way.”  – Anonymous

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