I’ve had this post queued up for almost a year, but I guess I forgot to post it. Whoops. A couple of summers ago, my family & I went on a trip to Thailand & Vietnam. At the end of our trip, we volunteered with MEMO in Vietnam. We offered scholarships to children to help keep them off the streets & stay in school, raised money for open heart surgery for young children, played with orphans, & gave thousands of strangers free healthcare. It was an amazing experience. We were exhausted, always full, sweaty, itchy from being victimized by mosquitos, & of course, many of us got food poisoning. Yay.
Our trip started off with riches–5 star hotels, white cloth dining, fully functioning air conditioning in our hotel rooms, real showers, deliciously decadent buffets–to rags. There were hotels we stayed at that simply had a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor, a non-existent shower. That’s right. There weren’t showers in some of these hotels, there was simply a shower head attached to a wall next to the toilet. The contrast was an unforgettable experience. I don’t think I’ll ever forget when my MEMO roomie Katie & I were thoroughly entertained by our eclectic neon ceiling lights in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It dawned on us as we fumbled with the normal lights with the neon ones that the hotel we were staying was the type you’d take your escort/mistress to. It could’ve been worse, but after seeing hair & stains on the bedsheets & pillows, I decided sleeping on the ground was somehow more hygienic. Don’t question my logic, it helped me sleep that night. Nevertheless, we made it out alive, sans contracting an STI too! We all experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, but I think all of us walked away humbled, yet proud of the good we did. We helped positively change people’s lives, many of whom don’t even know our names nor have any ties to us. We were just a bunch of MEMOers helping out complete strangers.
I suppose I should’ve added more photos of Vietnamese food in this post…but you can click on the photos to see more. Everything was delicious, of course. There’s more to Vietnamese noodle soups than pho, y’all. All Vietnamese noodle soups are not called pho. Pho is a very specific type of noodle soup.