OzQuest My Lai 2006 Project Report
The recent joint project undertaken by Hands for Hope and OzQuest in My Lai, Vietnam, was an immense success. Seventeen volunteers from Australia travelled to one of the hamlets of Son My (also known as My Lai) to join local Vietnamese in building a kindergarten.
The original kindergarten had been built in the 1960s and was very run down. Over a period of 9 days, the Vietnamese and Australian team managed to remove the old kindergarten and substantially build a replacement. The building continued after the departure of the OzQuest volunteers.
The OzQuest volunteers, many of whom are students, came from all over Australia. They learned from the local builders how to mix cement, lay bricks and carry out other building activities. The local builders, led by Mr Hung, should be commended for their patience and warm welcoming attitude with which they did this. Mr Nam and the other members of Hands for Hope are also to be commended. Their initiative and assistance assured the success of the project.
This warmth was also seen in the hospitality of the greater community of My Lai. The community made the Australians feel very welcome. The Australian volunteers were lodged locally, shopped at the local market for their meals and socialised with the local people.
The interpreter for the project, Ms Chung, was always of immense help. Many people, including the Foreign Minister for the region, attended the official welcome and official farewell held for the volunteers. These events were also notable for the delicious Vietnamese cuisine served and the enjoyable Vietnamese dancing show.
At the end of the project, the Australian volunteers had a chance to attend the My Lai Museum that was erected in memory of the victims of the My Lai massacre. All were overwhelmed by the sadness and horror that the area had faced in these times. This experience made all the Australian volunteers treasure even more the friendships they had formed while building the kindergarten.
The Australian volunteers send Hands for Hope the following message:
"Thank you so much for all of your time and kindness. We treasure our experience with you in My Lai. We are so happy to have formed friendships with such talented and genuine people.
We look forward to further success and teamwork with you in the future.”
The OzQuest Team, Vietnam 2006
If you would like help H4H to build and maintain many run down school or have any queries, please contact Ms Nhon Nguyen for further details.
OzQuest is a non-profit program that operate short-term expeditions overseas for 18-30 year olds. To find out more about OzQuest please visit their website http://www.ozquest.org