Recently I embarked on an amazing trip to Vietnam with an incredible charity, Children in Crossfire and I felt it was so inspiring that it was time to put pen to paper to honour its memory – a memory shared can last forever! I had heard Richard Moore’s story in Derry and was deeply touched by it, it felt so inspiring to think of his proactive choices in life. I felt an element of determination to bring something positive back to the table for them and so I decided to participate on Trek Vietnam.
It was great to hear the group speak about all the things they also had done for the charity, everything from car boot sales to charity walks and coffee mornings had been explored. So when we boarded the plane there was already a great sense of achievement.
The group were just a wonderful mix of people all walking, talking and taking in the scenery sharing chosen glimpses of our world back home. At night we ate together and even had a singsong by an open fire. We enjoyed a moon dance display hosted by the locals. It really was great fun and we got the feeling of some local creative entertainment from the roots.
We named my guitar Jake on the trip. Jake was purchased in a second-hand shop at home for 20 euro and fitted in perfectly, steering beautifully in and out of tune after a minute of play. The guitar was a challenge to play but the group were generally open to the imperfection of it all. Many songs, many versions, many tastes! Our groups’ doctor Joe played a song on Jake, Gary and Katie all sang from the heart as they brought merry tunes to life for the party. We even intertwined some of their local songs with our guitar and it definitely wasn’t radio friendly!
The last day more hikes were an option but I opted for a swim in a local waterfall. The group split in two the hardcore hikers hit the hills and the swim, well it was just what the doctor ordered; a little bit of heaven. We soaked up the sun, the water and the views before sending some fun pictures back to the crew.
On the last day we took a cruise around Halong Bay and spent the night aboard the ship. The captain called us his ‘family’. The views at Halong Bay are spectacular, really breathtaking. We visited caves, relaxed and enjoyed lunch. It is well worth the experience of staying over and enjoying the magnificence and magic of the views and the history of the area.
Many thanks to ‘Children in Crossfire’ who organized such an engaging, educational trip and in particular to Shauna. Thanks to the group for being a joy to be around, you gain strength from walking outside your own comfort zone and hearing stories, seeing talents and spending time together in the mountains and by the ocean was a rare and special treat.
On my just giving page, I had offered up the trip to the memory of my dad, Denis, who had passed 8 years previous at the end of April. I always felt the blues around the time of his anniversary, this trip he would have loved. He would have really enjoyed the spirit of the Sapa Sisters and the amazing views at Halong bay. He had his own wonderful humour and a kind gentle nature and he would have appreciated the nature that was in every step of our trip.
Written by Ami Grady. (Dublin, May 3nd 2017)
For songs: www.amigrady.com
Song called ‘Sisters of the Sun’ to follow soon.
To download the song Ami did for charity see www.amigrady.com/albums
“You can download Broken Wing for free. I only request that you make a donation to www.childrenincrossfire.org if you like the song! Many thanks.”