I went when i was 12 with my family. it was not a nice experience overall.

the thing that most affected my experience was the blatant street poverty. there were so, so many clearly homeless ppl, begging for food and money. some children were leading blind, crippled and mentally disabled old ppl. i hated that i couldn't do anything then to help. i could not, and was not allowed to give anything to them directly. i never held the money pouch. everywhere i turned, there were those hanging around the seedy hotel entrances, in front of shops and along the roadsides. to be reminded of my life in australia, and to know that i was born luckier than they were was a painful knife everyday of the "holiday". poor little lucky girl. i hated the time spent there. the majority of my memories are bad ones. i wrote obsessively in my little diary there, and once when i was in the bathroom, it fell into my 'rents hands. it pretty much confirmed what they had suspected. i hated vietnam.

one day, it got so disgustingly repulsive to me that i burst out crying in front of everyone. we had been on a little boatout on the sea, and landed on some island with humungous iguanas or whatever. the day was beautiful, in retrospect, with clear blue skies and a calm blue sea. but i couldn't see that then. i felt so alone in my misery that the waterworks suddenly turned on. to make it worse, i was in front of not only my 'rents and sister, but also my despised cousin and his family.

when the day came to get back on the aeroplane, i will admit it: i was glad to be going back to my life back in aus. yes, its shameful that i prefered to ignore what i couldn't change. i do know that. but i just couldn't deal with it. i don't think i've changed about that either. thinking back, even if i had given away everything i had, nothing would have been gained for long. its the way the country is...but that's another story. 

BowsAndBones BowsAndBones
18-21, F
1 Response Jul 24, 2007

It is good to have compassion but the guilt only hurts you.<br />
Those folks you saw have two sides of life too..the one you saw, and maybe if they allow, the gift from suffering, that they are strong in ways we'll never know. Maybe weakness to them is to have everything? They can survive without so much...