Hà Đông is the area of Hanoi in which we now live. It is a city-bus ride of about 45 minutes to an hour from the Old Quarter which costs 7000 Vietnamese dong (or about 32 US cents). We live in the high rise apartment/office of the organization with which we are volunteering (check it out! YESD).
There are two Vietnamese women, 2 of the 3 creators of YESD, that live in the apartment, as well as a few foreign volunteers. For the most part, volunteers spend a few weeks to a month teaching English (we will be here about 5 weeks). One volunteer, an American named Brian, has been here for several months (and living abroad for about 5 years); he’s a pleasure to hang out with (not just because we’re beard brothers!) Recently, he was going out to take pictures and to explore around our neighborhood so another volunteer (Emma from England) and I tagged along.
We didn’t walk far, just meandering through the streets between nearby houses and apartment buildings. We walked past a day care center with fantastic art on the outside wall, depicting activities unsafe for a child, with big X’s across each picture. A few blocks away a few neighborhood kids ran over to us to say hello (in English) as we passed an abandoned construction site surrounded by a large metal fence.
Brian and I, distracted by the children and taking pictures, turned around and realized Emma had disappeared. She didn’t go far, though; she had wandered into the construction site. We tentatively followed her in through a large gap in the fence and realized that the whole area within had been turned into a community garden. The kids followed us in and joined us as we explored. The following are some of the sights from the garden.