Testimony

Anthony

Hello! My name is Anthony Zammit, an Australian – Maltese who came to Highland Centre to help out for two months. I am not certain what I expected but what I found was nothing but exceptional. I volunteered in Peru for many years and I felt that I needed a change and I thank Heavens for doing so because the people of Ha Giang are ‘Happiness Generating People’ Their inward peace and genuine happiness brushes off on you if you like it or not. It is something you have to experience yourself for it is indescribable! Walking down the road I am greeted with Hellos, people pass on their babies to hold and take photos of me with their babies. Each time I walk into a classroom I ask myself ‘What teaching am I going to leave behind’ During these 40m I have to impart something even if I manage to make them say six and not sick for number 6, or ‘I am 6 years old’ and not ‘I am six year old’ They are smart kids but have difficulty in pronunciation and this is where we come in.

I am overwhelmed to have had this experience in Highland Centre and after I close up my projects in Peru, I think I will return here and become a ‘Village Teacher’ where I will live in a Homestay, free lodging, free food, free friendship and genuine respect and gratitude from the community and be able to share their daily life like grazing with Water buffalo (although they were afraid of me).What a great retirement plan!


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My name is Barbora Knebortová (29),
I am from Czech republic but I am currently living in China.I was travelling around Vietnam and because I find volunteering the best way to travel and meet great people. I decided to stay in Ha Giang in the Highland centre. I was really lucky on people and very unlucky on the weather. People in the centre are really kind and welcoming. Great food, accommodation and help with anything you need. I came there in January and the weather was pretty cold, so many classes were cancelled, but still I had the opportunity to teach few of them and it was a really nice experience. Kids were great and atmosphere too. On a free day I recommend to rent a motorbike and discover villages and its beautiful surroundings. I was amazed by the sceneries there. I am sure I will come back to Ha Giang. January 2016

103_6138Hello my name is Eric Wellman Davis. I am a 30 year old male from the U.S.A. I was on holiday in Vietnam when I found the Highland Center in Ha Giang. I thought this would be a great opportunity to experience a smaller city in a special and more intimate way. Volunteering and working with the local people was a great way to get to know the people and the surroundings on a deeper level. The center was very hospitable and the fellow volunteers very kind and helpful. Unfortunately, the weather at the time wasn’t very cooperative and many classes were cancelled. But I was still able to teach a few lessons throughout the week that I was there. The children were very fun and eager to learn. On the days off of teaching, I spent the time exploring the city and neighboring villages via motorbike and hiking. It’s really a beautiful area with lots of things to see and do. I definitely recommend visiting Ha Giang and spending time at the Highland Center.

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Hi, I’m Isabel Noeker, a 22-year-old student from Germany. During my semester break I spent one month volunteering in Ha Giang and I definitely recommend this place! Ha Giang itself is a quiet city (compared to Hanoi) and I appreciated that there are more or less no tourists around. The locals are very friendly and open-minded even though only few of them speak English. I felt welcomed and comfortable everywhere I went. In class my main task was practising pronunciation with the students, as this is quite difficult for Vietnamese. I always had a good time with the kids, who are also giving so much back to you in laughing at you, greeting and even hugging you. While I stayed in the Highland Centre I also became good friends with my fellow volunteers and I feel thankful for the help I received after a stupid motor bike accident. The clinic is only a few steps away and the doctors there took good care of me. In total, I feel very lucky for this experience and I would love to come back one day.
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YasminMy name is Yasmin Jess and I’m originally from Berlin, Germany. A few years back, I travelled through the main cities in Vietnam as a tourist and decided then I must come back and get to know the country better. So when I came across the post for volunteering at Highland Center, I was instantly hooked and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life to go volunteer in the school. I have indeed gotten to know a lot more about Vietnam in my months at the Center. I was received with openness and kindness by the people involved with Highland Center and I had the chance to experience the warm mentality of the people in Ha Giang, the beautiful nature and sights of the country side and went on many adventures hiking and exploring the surrounding areas in northern Vietnam. Beyond that, I have had the great pleasure of teaching english to a few groups of lovely kids (different classes and ages), which in turn has taught me lots well and was very fun and did not much feel like work; I was eager to get to my lessons. Ha Giang City and the Center itself is a safe, friendly and peaceful environment to be in. I can wholeheartedly recommend volunteering here!

My name is Rumico Inoue, I stayed in Hagiang for 1 month and a half in 2016.
Before I write a “list” of my adventures, I want to point out that this “list” is in reality endless. By coming here, by being exposed to a new culture and a new way of experiencing life, I finally understood what one of my friends once said to me: happiness is a choice, and it involves being able to appreciate the “first times” every day, every second. Every day at Ha Giang was truly an adventure for me, filled with “first times,” so consider the following list an unfinished list or merely a glimpse of the whole picture .
Rumico
I experienced my first time coming to Vietnam. I experienced my first time becoming an English teacher and screaming “Are you ready!?” with Tan. I rode a motorbike for the first time to go to the Chinese border and to a cave (two amazing volunteers Kevin and Yasmin taught me how to ride it). I was scared, but I was mostly excited to feel the breeze and to see the beautiful terraces of Ha Giang. I meditated for the first time. I experienced tasting the best coffee in the world, with ice and condensed milk. I learned how to say “cheers,” “yummy,” “I’m full,” “I’m hungry,” and many more phrases in Vietnamese (mostly related to drinking and eating). I went to karaoke with Vietnamese friends and the friends staying at the Center, and showed off some of my awesome dance moves ! I tried frog hot pot and rabbit meat… I learned to appreciate the Vietnamese naps, enjoying the warmth of sleeping side by side with many children. I put my feet into a rice field, and felt my feet sink into the soft mud. I had my first fishing experience.

But above all, my most memorable experience was coming to love the people I was home staying with, Mrs. Hang, her daughter Lien, and her friends and family. I loved hearing Mrs. Hang make strange sounds like “chiu!” I loved hearing Lien say “tickle!” and then starting a tickle war with her. I loved sitting on the floor in a circle when eating lunch and dinner and getting very full because everyone kept on giving me more food. Their key phrase was “all for you!” I loved Lien’s grandmother who called me “daughter” and who let me call her “mother”. I can go on and on. As I said before, the list is endless.Thank you. Thank you for all the “first times.” Coming to Ha Giang, to Highland Center and meeting Lien’s family was one of the best decisions I have ever made.