Day 1 to 3 — Welcome to my SAP Social Sabbatical in Vietnam

I have come to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam with the SAP Social Sabbatical team to assist a Social Sabbatical. The SAP Social Sabbatical supports NGOs and social enterprises across the world and is currently supporting 4 projects in Ho Chi Minh City. The Social Sabbatical I am supporting is an advocate for natural farming (so without pesticides and artificial fertilizers) which I will explain in more detail in later posts.

We have a great team made up of Sol from Argentina, Mathias from Germany and me.

Today we went to two farms near Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanks to Sol, we always are very well received as most of the people we met started singing the song “Soledad” when they learn of Sol’s name, even when they can’t speak any other English. Look up the song if you do not know it — we had to.

We have seen 2 natural farms today that are a great advertisement of the natural farming techniques and ideology and are completely self sufficient. They operate without pesticides and artificial fertilizers and improve the soil through natural means and by planting in layers so there is enormous variety and diversity. Here are two interesting pictures of two different farms — one is natural farming and the other uses artificial fertilizers and pesticides. I will let you guess which is which.

Here are some pictures of the farms. Peppers, Lotus flowers, Jack fruit….

Even though complete strangers — we were made extremely welcome and very well fed. We had bananas which tasted nothing like bananas back home in England, the seeds from the lotus flower (like delicate nuts), papaya, jack fruit (very sweet), some truly hot mustard leaves and numerous vegetables those names I sadly cannot remember. The hospitality we received was amazing.

We also had a huge natural food lunch all made by the farm which also included a fresh fish caught in the lake on the farm no more than an hour before it was served to us. Here is a picture of our team enjoying the Vietnamese culture of a lunchtime nap. We all needed it.

I am really glad to be a part of this social sabbatical team and I will now give a plug for the blogs of Sol and Mathias on Medium. They have great stories and pictures. I suggest you look them up.