2011 VIETNAM FIELD TRIP
Writer Ted Mlynarz
From humble beginnings in 2003, following a decade of successful missions to Vietnam, the eleventh field trip of Vietnam Vision Projects Australia took place during 20th July to 4th August 2013. Volunteers from all parts of Australia and one from the USA gathered in Vietnam to continue the good work which commenced those many years ago.
The areas of operation during this mission were the Phu Khanh Province (Nha Trang) and the neighbouring Lam Dong Province (Da Lat).
Phu Khanh province
Lam Dong province
The 2013 mission achieved several milestones in the number of patients treated. The Cataract, Medical and Dental teams worked tirelessly and were ably supported by logistics and support staff. Figures for the mission are summarised as follows:
|Area||Patients Examined||Total Operated|
|Area||Patients Examined||No Treatment Req'd||Total Treated|
Overall, 1806 teeth treated, 1200 restorations – 606 extractions
Apart from Cataract, Medical and Dental services, the mission included several Humanitarian activities in the areas visited. Food parcels were distributed to the poor and needy in both provinces.
The resilience of all volunteers was constantly tested throughout the trip, particularly during the second week. The hospital was located at Bao Loc which required a daily 2.5 hour bus trip each way resulting in very early wake-up calls and late return to the hotel at Da Lat for well earned refreshments and meals. The commitment and determination of all concerned was evident throughout the trip and contributed to its success.
On this trip the VVPA team was overwhelmed by the number of local volunteers who provided support in any and every way possible. The enthusiasm and willingness to help shown by these young people contributed to the success of the mission. The quality of volunteer work and the assistance provided will long be remembered.
On the final day of the field trip, Saturday 3rd August, a dental clinic was established in Saigon where 110 school children from an outlying area were transported to Saigon for dental checks and treatment. For most of them it was the first time in the big city and their excitement was evident. However, the dental treatment was the main reason for their trip and all were treated by the local and VVP-A team. Each child was provided with an oral hygiene kit and was shown ways of cleaning their teeth.
Since the initial field trip in 2003, Vietnam Vision Projects Australia has grown and today there are around 300 registered volunteers from various backgrounds and professions who contribute their time toward the success of the organisation and the work it does.
Planning is underway for the 2014 mission. Fundraising is an important activity of the group and the generosity of the community is important to ensure the success of the next and future missions.
All volunteers contribute toward their own travel, accommodation and meal expenses, all funds raised from community donations are used for helping the poor and needy in rural areas of Vietnam.