First graders visit Sunny Farm Vietnam and a little bit more food talk

We don’t usually have programs on the weekend, but kids are in private school Summer Camp and Sam agreed to a Sunday four hour experience.

I think first grade might be my favorite kid age. They are sweet and funny and adorable. Viet children in private school are learning English from the 1st grade on. These kids were super excited to have someone to practice on. I kinda felt super special as they all wanted to walk with me, share food, and speak English. This program was led by the farmer, Ti, in Vietnamese. Right before it got started, I saw the teacher talking to Ti and gesturing my direction. Ti motioned for me to come stand in front of the children. When I did, they all spoke loudly in unison, “HELLO!”

I responded and then told them my name and asked each of them their name. The responses ranged from Song Le to Joe and Rick, lol. Throughout the rest of our time, some of them would run up to me when they remembered an appropriate phrase for the moment. After we picked fruit in the heat, one boy, Joe, ran up and excitedly said, “It’s hot!” Another one ran up to me and patted my stomach and said, “I’m hungry!” Each time I congratulated them on how well they spoke. The teachers absolutely loved it. I also had some really nice discussions with a teacher and his wife. They brought their toddler with them and he was a kick, too. All in all, it was a really fun morning. When they were leaving, they each came up and said, Good bye, see you again.” This place and these people continue to fill my heart.

Now for a few farm items I left off the last post. There are also pineapple, mango (small yellow variety), sweet potatoes and bird’s eye chili. The chilis are only about .75" long but don’t be deceived, they will cut you, lol! I love them! The sweet potato are eaten like a dessert. You just snap one in half and eat at room temperature.

Last night after dinner, I was on my cot and Twa and the 2 kids came and sat on the floor next to me with a plate that had a treat wrapped in banana leaf (best packaging design ever, I love banana leaves and their endless uses). Twa seemed really excited for me to try this. She cut off a slice and handed it to me. Din told me thru translation that this was a specialty from his grandmother. Super honored. It is sweet sticky rice wrapped around banana and mung beans. The mung beans turn the banana a red/purple color. It was delicious. Tracy, you would LOVE this.

Addition: this is called Bánh chưng. Sometimes it also has pork in it.

Oh and two more quick meals (you guys must think I do nothing but eat. I’m just not showing you the waist-high weeds we are clearing from under the guava and lime trees in crazy humid, heat.)

So, here is a way to make tofu not vegetarian lol. This meal was green beans, rice and two pieces of breaded tofu stuffed with ground spiced pork with onions and ginger in a tomato basil sauce.

Today for lunch, I had a little bowl of, you guessed it, rice with simmered pork and an egg. I think I could live on Twa’s sauces and soups alone, but glad I get the other treats too! Note about rice, since I am the guest (and just happen to be the oldest) I always get served the first bowl of rice. Per etiquette, it is always served by either the mother or oldest son. My job is to accept no less than 2 helpings of rice. Less than that is kind of insulting the chef. They will continue to offer you more food until you say you can’t eat anymore.

Thanks for listening!