Mr Hung (Vietnam)

Hello dear teachers!

Today I am writing to send my greeting to you all after over 4 months of staying home due to the COVID crisis. I trust you are doing well and stay safe there. I am safe in Vietnam and my country is doing a fantastic job to fight again the pandemic with no deaths recorded and not many people sick at all.

Vietnam is wanting to open its borders soon, but I know this depends on so many things. We Vietnamese are strong people and we have seen many bad times, but we are always optimistic.

A few local schools in Vietnam are travelling on school trips around the country which is a good thing. In the last few months, I have also travelled to the Northern highland regions with my family. Here we travelled to Sapa and Mai Chau region’s where we have had school groups build dwellings for local communities. They are very happy when they see me, as they know I am one of the tour leaders who escort students to this region and keep saying “thank you” and keep asking when do we come back again!

While things are tough for many people in Vietnam, we are a strong race of people and we will manage this terrible time as you are managing it in your country. We need to be hopefully at this time and be with our families as they will still be with us long after the bad times have gone, I believe.

I am ready to travel with you again and our local people wishing you safe and come back to Vietnam soon.

All the best regards from Vietnam!

Hung Pham – SEA tour leader

Miss Voleak (Cambodia)

Hi everyone! I know many of you but if I don’t know you then may I introduce myself – I am Voleak and I have been a Tour Leader for Student Educational Adventure for 5 years.

I love my job and find it very meaningful and a pleasure to do compare to the other work experiences I have taken on during COVID. Daily I think about the many thousands of students and hundreds of teachers I know and wonder what you are all doing these days. For me, I am keeping myself busy and gaining new experience that I could not do in the past.

Family is the main priority for all Cambodians, so I am of course spending much time with them.  Each morning I get my father to do more exercise by going jogging then I can talk to him about his joys and problems and learn things about him that I never asked him before.

I follow my nieces’ study progress, take them to the library and in the afternoon, we get busy growing vegetable and trees together. Since my older sister is a chef, we do a lot of research on new recipes to cook for the whole family. I love Sushi the most but most of my family members do not, therefore we go with Khmer food frequently, which is good for me too.

In the past four months, I have spent much time volunteering at a veterinary clinic in Siem Reap as I love animals, and especially dogs. Most Cambodians are having a difficult time now trying to balance their money (of course we have no government support in Cambodia) and this is hard for animals in particular.  I have adopted a puppy and named him ‘Bill-Bill’. I give him a lot of training, love and care. My best friend often teases me about this saying “You are staying single for too long that is why you are treating these dogs like own child! We had better find you a good man to marry soon before you become too attached to the dogs!”. But I think one day, they would understand and be nicer to them since dogs are the most honest animal in the world.

I also spend a lot of time reading these days and I have discovered TED talks which I am really enjoying. The talks I am interested in are about women sharing their stories and the way to solve the problems. This is a key for me to share with villagers, especially women in crisis for their selves-motivation.

My company continues to take care of me well, but it is hard for most Cambodians at this time I know. Tourism is one of the largest industries in Cambodia which has almost completely stopped. Even so, we are a very fortunate nation I know – no one has died of COVID in Cambodian and a lot of businesses remain open and people move around quite freely again.

I am a Khmer girl so I am ever hopeful and will open my arms to you when you come back to my country in better times!

Voleak – SEA tour leader