2014 VIETNAM FIELD TRIP
Writer Ted Mlynarz
“If there is something you do in life, do it for those in need”
The 2014 Vietnam Vision Projects Australia (VVPA) field trip took place during 12 to 26 July 2014. The team undertook activities in the southern part of Vietnam, Ca Mau Province during the first week and the city of Tan An in Long An Province the next.
Ca Mau province
Long An province
Volunteers from all parts of Australia arrived at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Saigon and were immediately faced with retrieving not only their personal luggage, but several hundred kilograms of equipment and medication for use during the field trip.
The first week commenced with a 7 to 8 hour bus trip to Ca Mau followed by several hours of setting up the areas of operation at Ca Mau General Hospital in preparation for an early start on Tuesday 14 July.
Following three days of intensive and long hours of operations in both cataract and dental areas, it was time to re-pack the equipment and medication and return to Saigon to evaluate the work completed and prepare for the next phase in Long An Province. At this stage some volunteers left the group to return to Australia, while replacements arrived to work during the second week. Briefings were conducted and all was in readiness to travel to Tan An City. This trip was comparatively short (around 2 hours) compared to the first week, however, upon arrival at the Long An General Hospital it was straight into set up mode in preparation for operations to begin.
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:
“Providing free medical, surgical, dental, humanitarian, education and disaster relief services to all communities.”
Another three days of intensive work and long hours resulted in very successful visit to the area.
Without the support of the volunteers, sponsors and the community at large, who are very generous with the financial donations, this work is not possible. To enable the work of VVP-A to continue the generosity of the supporters is vital.
All volunteers who travel with the team on the annual field trips pay for their own travel and accommodation expenses, meaning all funds raised are directed toward helping those in need.
With regaining sight, these people are again able to enrich their standing within the local community, village or family, by being able to contribute to activities and re-gain their self-esteem among their peers and meaning in their lives.
“Discover your strengths through service to others”
(Rotary New Generations)