The second-to-last day in the village of Long My, it was pouring. Typically during this time of year — the wet season — there is a normal period of afternoon rain for about an hour each day. But it poured for hours Saturday afternoon in an absolute torrential downpour. We were walking into the school for an award ceremony, so both grades of kids were there. During the short walk to the school, the rain really let loose and we were soaking wet within two minutes.
It started with a few girls grabbing me and some others and pulling us out into the rain. In a matter of seconds a huge group was outside in the flooded field playing soccer. There was a significant amount of flooding, giant puddles just waiting for someone to be thrown into. Soccer devolved into mud fights, wrestling, and dropping each other into the giant puddles. The whole group was playing together in the rain, screaming, laughing, and picking each other up and spinning around. The hour and a half we spent outside in the rain was easily the most fun I have had in a long time.
“The ACE program with Coach for College was an amazing experience, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to meet the kids and all my fellow coaches.”
The fun in the rain was completely spontaneous. It was so inclusive and lighthearted, with no separation between the groups of 8th and 9th graders, boys and girls, coaches and students. All the initial hesitation and separation that occurred at the start of camp was fully washed away. During our time in Vietnam, we did a lot of work in the classroom and on the field. But it is important to be realistic about the actual impact we made over such a short time. We met some extremely cool kids, and while we might not have completely changed their educational opportunity, I saw a huge positive change in attitude. They were able to really open up to us, share their stories and their feelings, and spread the atmosphere of inclusiveness, helping us realize that it’s really great to be nothing more than happy and silly.
The ACE program with Coach for College was an amazing experience, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to meet the kids and all my fellow coaches. I absolutely fell in love with Vietnam, and I leave feeling extremely proud of where my family is from and of sharing in joy with the kids.