I finally took a little day trip out of Saigon. Friends of mine run a nonprofit that works with orphanages and poorer kids throughout Vietnam. They asked if I'd like to come with them and group of volunteers to a small province in southern Vietnam to
help them pass out gifts to the kids and photograph the day. Because it's Tet (Lunar New Year), they had boxes of presents for the children in the rural village. They each got something to play with or hug, an education book or learning tool, and something hygienic such as toothpaste.
We drove about an hour and a half to the southern tip of Vietnam, in the Mekong Delta, and very close to the China Sea. The area we were in was called Long Huu Dong and was in the Long An Province.
Once we pulled off the main highway and got our bus down a bumpy dirt road (that said it couldn't hold our weight), we walked about 200km to a small church where the kids were eagerly waiting for us.
We passed out food to the kids and then set up arts & crafts activities for them to participate in before handing out their gifts.
I do not speak Vietnamese and everyone we encountered only spoke it, but smiles and hand gestures are universally understood. So I spent hours playing with kids and laughing with them. I tried to get everyone excited to take photos as best I could, but most people were a bit stand-offish at first. However, once I took a few and showed them the images on my display screen, the kids were so excited to take more.
It was an awesome day, and I am thrilled I got to spend time with such cuties. Enjoy the photos!
Danielle Desnoyers is a traveling freelance photographer with a focus on humanitarian, travel, and family photography. She currently splits her time between the United States and Vietnam with travels to other countries as well.