The bus dashes over cracks and holes in the road as you jump about as if you were loosing control of a horse. People stare from their porch as a giant whale of a veichle whisks by, a flaire of red, a blur of privilage and a cough of the western. Your skin feels as white as the paint on the bus as children dash by in torn clothes and smiles. They sing songs and you wonder if any of them will remember the day a group of mostly white people came to watch them sing and hand out candy. A child stares up at you and begins to cry. You are just so fucking big in comparison. Your blue eyes roll across the children as guilt pulls your eye lids shut. Is this supposed to be for me? Is this supposed to make me feel something?
Children are children everywhere.
You are happy the NGO has helped build the school, happy they get rid of unexploded ordinates, but what’s your role? Why does it matter that you are here?
Would Americans let Vietanmese youth come to support a local NGO? Would a kindergarden in Texas sing for strange forigners smiling more for how cute the children are rather than smiling for any sort of life they live? You’ve seen places in the States in the same condition. Why won’t Americans help themselves as much as they try to help others?
There are few beggers in Vietnam. Part of that is no social safetynet by the state, part of it feels like a sink or swim mentality. Is this part of it you wonder as a mother carries goods by the bus.
Clouds roll over the mountains like the thoughts in your head. You feel useless following this NGO. You felt good tiling that floor, but that was because you did it with the family and workers paied to do the whole job no matter what. The man in the house cried when we left.
Our govnerment brought bombs, now we bring hugs.
The rice fields bend and sway in the wind. You hear pop music rolling over a family shrine. Menos swim amongst the rice plants. You could imagine any sort of mythical creature coming over the rice with the wind.
There are so many smiles here, but where is yours?
Issues are brought to attention, ways to deal with them arise. Help employ locals like the NGO. But will it ever stop? A country of blue eyes coming in to help a nation it once hated?
War leaves odd marks. Here it seems the only signs are some bomb cratres and missing limbs while unseen bombs haunt the grown. Back home there is furry on lips and anger in hearts and minds.
The land here is still healing, the people have seemed to move on, but what about us? Is this about guilt, is this why we hand candy to children?
Children are children, they will continue jumping in lakes and laughing, candy or not. But adults are different.