I had the opportunity to travel to the Kon Tum province last week with a friend of my grandmother. We went out there to visit some orphanages and the local people. She goes about once a year, more if possible. But its hard trip to make. Its a 12 hour bus ride to Kon Tum. Than 1-2 hours in a car across dirt roads, broken streets and mountains to reach some of these places. Kon Tum is one of the poorest provinces in Vietnam and you can see the hardship that these peoples faces.
The villages we visited were some worst ones. These people couldn't work to make a living. They were either too old, crippled or single mothers. So each family was given a bag of rice, instant noodles, dried fish, sugar, cooking oil, medicine and some clothes. One village was kind enough to invite us into their simple looking church for a prayer. They speak a different dialect than vietnamese. But they did know "thank you" in vietnamese!
Theres about 6 different major orphanages out there, but we only had time to visit 2. Orphanages with a 100 or more kids being taken care of by 5 nuns. The kids are sweet and nice, the nuns are doing a great job raising them. They were so happy and thankful when we showed up with food, clothes and especially candy for them.
But it wasn't all work. I got to see the middle of Vietnam where theres mountains and usually a fresh breeze. Its one of the prettiest places I've ever been. I stayed in a convent and the nuns there made their own wine. I got to try some of it and it was quite delicious! The bananas out in Kon Tum were some of the best bananas I've ever had. It was a great trip. It let me see a different side of vietnam.