Week 2 included the team seeing Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Hanoi. It was made famous because the Gold Turtle God had asked for the return of his master’s, The Dragon God, sword. Le Loi had the sword and used it during his revolt against the Chinese during the Ming Dynasty, in approximately the 1350’s. The Lake has an endangered type of turtle in it, the exact number of them is unknown. But they can be seen on the north shore from time to time.
And, we continued teaching English. The teams objective of teaching English was a continuing challenge as some of the Cadets ran out of material they were suppose to teach. The students had advanced enough that they could move out of the basics steps but they were not ready enough to start the more advanced packets. So the Cadets had to adapt by using their situational training and made up their own lessons plans. As part of the English training we held discussions, where we talked about modern problems, even historical problems.
Our weekend trip was to Sapa Mountains, on which we enjoyed a sleeper-bus ride. We arrived at about 8 a.m., had breakfast at our hotel and hiked into the local towns. We saw some of the greatest landscape in the country. We hiked about six miles both days as part of our PT activity. Their main economic support is having the tourist hike in and buy all the different trinkets they have. Such merchandise would range from exotic food such as water buffalo jerky to clothing made from the nearby hemp farms.
On our return Sunday, we helped pack gifts for the local orphanage in Hanoi as thanks by the FAO in the U.S. Embassy, Maj. Lee. When we arrived at the orphanage, some of us helped clean the Buddhist temple while others played with the children. Working at the orphanage both helped the children but helped ourselves. The trip to and from Sapa Mountains left the team very tired and having the energy of the children helped us forget our own exhaustion.