Buoc, Mai Chau, Vietnam
Vietnam is more than rice paddies, conical hats, and conflict with America. Vietnam is bursting with energy and forward motion. You’ll feel it in the hum and activity on the streets. You’ll see it in the way Vietnamese welcome you to their homes, invite you to taste their food, and proudly show you their rich culture. You’ll sense it in the options and opportunities all around.
Vietnam is home of over 90 million people. Each part of the county has it’s own customs, language dialects, and indiginous people. Youthlinc is thrilled to be opening our first Service Year site in Vietnam since 2013 when we worked in Song Cau, Tuy Hoa in Central Vietnam.
Youthlinc is partnering with SJ Vietnam, who has been working with us since 2012 with the first Service Year teams and the with our Global Community Leadership program. They have introduced us to a village in the northern highlands that is a gem of gems. The village we will be working in is called Buoc in Mai Chau province.
Buoc is home to 310 people from 77 families. Most folks in this area are subsistence farmers and raise some livestock. Most people living in Buoc are ethnic Thai, although none of them have ever lived in Thailand. Their first language is a variation of Thai, but they say that they only understand 60% of what is said in Thai movies, for example. They speak Vietnamese as their 2nd language and receive most of their education in Vietnamese.
Youthlinc will help Buoc to raise money for tap into water sources in the nearby mountains that will then add to the community water tank so that they will have enough water for their needs year round. Right now they often run out of water during some parts of the year because the current, sole water source is not sufficient for the village’s needs. Also, Youthlinc can help them find funds and continue installing updated bathrooms at people’s homes. Many people in the village still use unsanitary pit latrines that causes illness to be more common.
One of Buoc’s main goals is to become a more desirable destination for travelers. They would like to work on programs to encourage environmentally sustainable tourism, including becoming a single-use plastic free area, provide locally grown organic food, and encourage visitor’s activities to be healthy and active. Youthlinc is excited to find team members that can help them acheive their goals, including developing marketing and tourism-related skills.There is a women’s association in Buoc that is eager to work with Youthlinc on developing and improving opportunities for women in the area to develop skills that can earn extra income for their families.
The people in this are are very interested in learning and practicing English. The students are eager to engage in a STEM camp that Youthlinc will organize and the adults are eager to learn and practice business-related and travel/tourism-related English.
Lastly, Buoc can use improvement in access to health-related information. There is village nurse that helps where she can but then refers more complicated issues a nearby government-funded clinic. The nurse reports that there is a lot of education that can be done to improve the public health knowledge in the area, which would decrease frequency of illness and improve quality of life.
Tomasi was a Pastor for a Church in Fiji when he lost is first Wife to cancer. They have 2 daughters together. He then Moved to New Zealand where is was a Pastor for 6 Years and served the Maori community. He came back to Fiji and was serving at a Christian Camp. At the End of 2007 Thomasi met is current wife Sesarina. They got married in 2008. In 2009 they moved to the Province of Ra.
They had their first volunteer team from Capernwray, New Zealand. In 2011, they got involved with a charity from Australia called LOVE, GIVE, SHARE South Pacific, serving in the community and mostly rural schools of Fiji. In 2016 After Cyclone Winston, they coordinated the distribution of food and school materials to schools and community through LOVE, GIVE, SHARE.
In the Beginning of 2017 they started coordinating with Youthlinc, our first teams were greeted and cared for so well in 2018 that we decided we have to go back and send as many teams as we can.
They are also serving in a ministry called Island Encounter in Nadi.
Pastor Thomasi and Sesarina are wonderful coordinators and great cooks, graciously provide dinner every night at their own home. we are so luck to have found them and can’t wait for our partnership to continue to grow.
I am so thankful for the opportunities that Youthlinc has brought me over the past 4 years. I discovered Youthlinc when my daughter Emma said she wanted to go to Cambodia but only if I went as a mentor with her. The decision to go was one of the best choices in my life. After an eye opening and absolutely life changing trip to Cambodia I was hooked. The next year I was chosen to be a team leader for a trip to Nepal and the following year to Kenya. This year is Vietnam and I am excited to see our team come together and have the same life changing experiences that myself and my daughter have had. My favorite part about the entire year is the students. Seeing where they start at the beginning of the year and watching them grow and become close friends is always special. Seeing all of their hard work pay off with such an amazing trip to cap it off is something that none of them will soon forget.
Theo Moss (they/them) is currently a second-year student at Salt Lake Community College. Theo first got involved with Youthlinc in 2017 when they participated in their first service year experience to Peru. Even though they swore they didn’t have time for another trip, they traveled with Youthlinc again the following year as an Alum Leader to Guatemala. They’re excited to make it three years running this upcoming year as an Assistant Team Leader in Vietnam. Aside from service work, Theo loves spending time in coffee shops, going on sunset drives, and listening to music much too loud for their own good. They can often be found at a variety of cafes (either doing homework or with friends), on Wasatch Boulevard watching the sunset, or in bed sleeping.