It is said Christmas is the best time of the year. It definitely is when you get together with family and friends to give gifts to one another and have a warm Christmas dinner spreading festive cheers. Unluckily, our festive cheers and just cannot do that much for people who live in poverty.
Around and about in town It takes about 7-8 hours from Saigon to get to a small town called Păng Tiêng in a windy and rocky highland. It is a place where an ethnic minority community called K’ho live. As we arrived at the site we then took a long road down to the valley. We spent 2 days at the village staying in the main church of the town where we got together with villagers, opened a playground for children as well as prepared Christmas presents for them. By the way, Christianity is the main religion in Păng Tiêng and is practiced by the K’ho community. The weather up there is quite harsh, it is hot at noon but the temperature rapidly falls down at sunset so it is freezing cold at night and in the morning. Sometimes, the flow of wind coming from high in the mountains will blow your mind away; I mean it is chilly and icy to the bone!
Christmas was coming to… Păng Tiêng As soon as Christmas presents were ready, from the main church, we headed to the small village up in the mountain. The road was not easy to go though it was much excitement and fun indeed because we crossed the bumpy road, up and down and swing around. You may feel like you are on a roller-coaster. Arrival upon the village, the priest got people to gather in a large space and then we donated rice, food, and warm clothes for ethnic minority people – K’ho.
They had a nice way to say thank you to us back when giving us a long necklace. They had so much happiness on their faces, especially the children; they were very excited with their new clothes.
At night, we had fun in the church yard; built up the fire to warm up then singing and dancing around. Plus, enjoyed performances of ourselves and children while drinking wine from the jar through pipes (rượu cần) and eating grilled wild boar.
The next morning, it was on Sunday; we woke up early and made preparation for the playground right in the church yard. There was a bouncing castle, a food corner, a painting corner and a free haircut was also offered to the children.
At the end of the playtime, bags of candies, cookies and toys were given to the children. Finally, good thing comes to an end, we packed up and back to Saigon. Small gifts, big hearts, we hope that somehow people there could have a meaningful and warm Christmas in some ways. May their Christmas be full of cheers this year!