One colorful balloon can bring joy to anyone. But in poor and struggling villages like La Lung Tung and Phe Pha, such a balloon can light up a whole village.
“Balloons!” – a student of the class rejoiced when he saw the sign of balloons, making all the kids graze their prying eyes at the pack of colorful balloons in my hand. That was a small present we bought in a hurry at the market in the town of Lung Ho commune to give to the kids as first-time meeting gift. We couldn’t expect these ordinary balloons could bring them that much excitement.
The kids enjoyed watching me puffing my cheeks to blow each balloon. Some of the kids were not as shy so they took some balloons and tried blowing themselves. The rest just watched intently and all the laughters, filled with joy, naturally filled the space.
“Here a balloon like that is very precious to the kids” - said Ms. Tuyen, teacher at the primary sub-school of La Lung Tung village. Indeed, we saw this kid who held firmly to a yellow balloon, while playing with the ball, constantly and carefully cleaned it everytime the ball touched the ground.
In this sub-school, temporarily put together, there were nothing apart from a black board and some sets of wooden tables and chairs hand-made by the people in the village. No teaching aids or toys for the kids. This is one of the reasons that made teaching in the mountainous areas so difficult, as there are no visual aids to support the teaching despite the major language barrier between teachers who speak the official Vietnamese language and the students, speaking H’mong.
If those pretty little balloons could bring such joy for the kids, imagine what a school can do for them – creating happiness through opportunities for their life, gained with education.
And we hope you will join us in building that happiness for the kids.
Written by Chau Nguye. Translated by Linh.
Photo credit to Trang Nguyen