The GoGlobal Blog

Mama Vien to the Rescue

Mama Vien to the Rescue

So our program assistant, Vien, who is also Rylan’s personal assistant has become very close to us Loyola students. She is after all only twenty-two and all of us on the program are twenty or twenty-one. Its only natural that she has bonded with us. She is also a graduate of USSH, where we Loyola students and our Vietnamese roommates are studying now. Its not uncommon for her to drink beer with us, and she is in charge of our weekly Friday activities that show us different fun things to do in Saigon, but recently she has been a really big help. On Taku mountain Vien singlehandedly took care of all rooms, transportation, and food. This is a big task considering four Americans with different tastes including one vegetarian, and one observing meatless Fridays for Lent (me). She did everything effortlessly and through it all hung out with us and joined our party for Alex’s 21st birthday and watched the moon with us as it was ‘supergiant’, or whatever scientists call it, for our last night on the mountain. Due to here caring nature, we all began to call her mama Vien instead of just Vien. She seems to like the title. It is curious how this works. Back in high school at St. Xavier in Cincinnati a lot of the students including myself would call women teachers Mama. Not every woman could be called Mama. There were several teachers who were very strict, cold, or just outright not friendly. The moniker Mama never applied to them. However teachers who went above and beyond for their students and really did care about us personally always got the prefix Mama before their names. So teachers like Mrs. Thurman were rarely addressed as Mrs. Thurman, but rather as Mama Thurman. Honestly, what a great environment where students can informally address their teachers but at the same time so a lot of respect.

Ok, back from high school and into the CAMBODIAN JUNGLE! The jungle was really amazing, except for the fact Robb slashed open the space between his two smallest toes on a sharp root just sticking out of the ground (note if you are trekking in a jungle its best to avoid flip flops because they can get caught on roots and vines) and has been to the hospital several times since then for stiches and checkups. Instead of having to take a cab with crutches, Vien volunteered to take Robb on her motorbike. Vien has also driven several students to their organizations that are farther out in the city, reducing travel time on the bus at around one hour to a mere twenty minutes via motorbike. Isn’t that nice. Finally, I’ve been sick for the last few days with a fever and sore throat and have been trying to take it easy. My roommate, as he has since day one, has been there for me, but Vien has come to help too. Today she popped in my room with a big bag full of lemons to make homemade lemonade, which she says will help me feel better. I’m not sure about medicinal lemonade, but it can’t hurt to try. I really appreciate it. So if anyone is considering studying abroad, ask yourself: What program would look out for me the most? I would say the Loyola Vietnam Center. I’ve never heard of any program that gets so involved with its students. So I have to say THANKS MAMA VIEN, YOU ROCK!
(Not to worry. I’m going to write about Cambodia before the week is out. As for the Mekong Delta and other happenings. I’ll get there… eventually)

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