A Special Visit

Just yesterday, I came back from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was a four days three nights trip organised by my Primary school, Henry Park. Once home, I reflected on my trip and found my visit to the Anh Linh Orphanage School the most memorable.

Once there, I saw about fifty children standing near the gates to welcome us. All of them looked cheerful and only a handful looked sad. The principal of the school told us that the school provided education from 1st to 5th grade. There was a large age difference among the levels- the age of the students in the school was in the range from eight to twenty! After the introduction, we were paired with one student from the orphanage. I was paired with a tall boy who looked very shy. Since most children in Vietnam did not understand English, I had to communicate with him through hand signs. Using simple gestures, I led him to one corner to do some activities. Taking out a colouring set and a picture of the Merlion and the Singapore flag, I asked him to colour the Singapore flag red. To my amazement, he picked up the red colour pencil and started to colour. He actually understood simple English! He must be quite intelligent! This made the activity easier. I told him how to colour the pictures and both of us sat down to colour.

The next activity that convinced me that my partner was intelligent was when I taught him how to play "Snakes and Ladders". I showed him how to play a few times before starting to play once with him. He immediately picked up the game and knew how to leap up the ladders and how to slide down the snakes. In a flash, he had reached the top!

After playing a few more rounds, it was almost time for him to go back to class. A few minutes before he left, I gave him an English picture book and a bookmark that I made. Politely, he thanked me and started flipping through the book. His eyes were glued to the page and only closed the book when the lesson bell rang. He thanked me again and ran up to class.

My group decided to tour around the school to have a look at the children's living conditions. When we entered their bedroom, all of us had a shock. Their beds were thin straw mattresses on hard metal frames. This made me feel very lucky to have a comfortable bed and a complete and caring family. We were then told by the principal that the students worked hard to make key chains after school. However, all they got for that was 1,000 Vietnamese dong(S$0.66) a month! Before we left, all of us went to the key chain shop to purchase the beautiful key chains sewn together using beads and plastic string.

The children at the orphanage are friendly, intelligent and hardworking. Sadly, they do not have the opportunities to do well in life. Take my partner as an example. Given the same opportunities as me- to go to a proper school, have parents to coach them and chances to go for immersion programmes, I am sure that he will excel in life!


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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.