I flew last night to Saigon from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’d been there for a week, attending the Volunteers in Asia mid-year conference.
The conference was stressful. Volunteers in Asia, like many organizations in the States, is very seriously revisiting its finances for not only the immediate future but also the ultimate future of the NGO. It was our responsibility to talk about it and figure out what, if anything, we as volunteers can do to smartly focus VIA’s efforts in Southeast Asia. I doubt much of our recommendations, if any, will matter. I’ll actually be shocked if they did.
If anything good came out of the conference it was an opportunity for me to revisit the last three months of my life and present them to fellow volunteers in the form of images, video, and music. We are all spread throughout Southeast Asia—other than Vietnam’s in-country representative, I’m the only VIA-affiliated member who is posted in Hanoi—and there are very few of us in the region, so this exercise was critical to putting faces and feelings to bland, paper-based post descriptions.
For someone who doesn’t go into a lot of specific detail about his day-to-day life, it was important for my video to accurately portray my last three months. I eat (a lot), spend a great deal of time at home, have girl troubles and triumphs, party and dine with coworkers, and think—probably too much—about my future in Vietnam. This was not only for VIA but also (mostly, actually) for my family and friends in the United States, who collectively have an incredibly difficult time visualizing or understanding my reality in Vietnam. I don’t blame them; I would, too.
I had fun making this, if only because during the time spent creating it I thought long and hard about my role with Volunteers in Asia, my professional and social life in Hanoi, and my future—if there is one—in the United States.
three months now and then I will make a video like this. I need to keep track of my life and do it in such a way that the photos, videos, and music I use all preserve as much as possible my state of mind at the time of the video’s creation. Sometimes I’m happy, other times sad. But it all happens while music is playing in my head and at least I’m surrounded by wonderful souls who know how to make me laugh.
Tomorrow I’ll leave Saigon and return to Hanoi to finish 2010. Seems appropriate, I think.