Hey again everyone! I am so sorry that it’s been so long since my last post. We’ve had a busy couple of weeks with a field trip to Hue, midterm presentations, and papers. I hope you all enjoy seeing some of the pictures I took while I was in Hue, and I’ll try to get another blog post up as soon as I can!
Map courtesy of wikipedia.com
Hue city is located in central Vietnam and served as the capital of the country during the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). We flew from Hanoi to Hue after class on Thursday and spent the weekend there a couple weeks ago. Hue is a truly magnificent city, and it’s amazing architecture helped make it a UNESCO world heritage site.
The trip was planned by our UNC Professor, Trude Bennet, with the help of one of her travel agent friends. On our first day, we visited the Hue Medical school, which houses the Office of Genetic Counseling & Disabled Children (OGCDC). We received a short introduction to their programs, and then toured a few of their facilities.
One of the programs we visited was an orphanage for both disabled and non-disabled children run by Buddhist nuns. The head nun gave us a presentation about the orphanage, which was incredibly inspiring. The orphanage raises the children and sends them to a nearby school. When we asked the nun if any of the children had been adopted, she told us a story of a time when a foreign couple asked to adopt a child many years ago. When they got the children together to see if anyone wanted to be adopted, they all gathered together and said they did not want to leave each other. Since then, no children have left the orphanage until they are ready to get jobs and live on their own. My favorite part of our visit to the orphanage was the baby room. Of course, we all picked up the babies and immediately fell in love. They practically had to pull us out of the room when it was time to head to lunch.
Kavya, Tara, and Divya with some more babies
Burcu falling in love her with her baby
Sarah Jane with her baby
From left to right: Danielle, Ann, Divya, Kavya, Tara, and Joey (with babies)
The Buddhist nun in charge of the orphange
The Vietnamese version of Madeline.
After lunch, we visited another school for older children with disabilities. We had the opportunity to observe some of the classes, where the teachers worked in pairs using Montessori techniques. We observed a music class, where the children performed and then taught us a Vietnamese song. It was really cute!
That night, Kim, Burcu and I wandered around the city, found some delicious dinner, and drank a bunch of soy bean milk! We ran into the rest of the group at a beautiful cafe just inside the citadel.
Burcu with fresh soy bean milk!
Beautiful cafe inside the Hue Citadel, where we got coffee.
The following day, we went on a tour of Hue city with an adorable, pregnant tour guide named Binh. She first brought us to the beautiful Thien Mu pagoda. Inside the worship space of the pagoda, there was only one Buddha. This is different than the pagodas in northern Vietnam, which feature many different Buddhas.
Inside the grounds of the pagoda, Binh showed us the car that carried the Buddhist monk, Thích Quảng Đứ, to his public self sacrifice in Saigon in 1963. His self-immolation was in protest of the mistreatment of Buddhists by the Ngô Đình Diệm government. This act became incredibly famous around the world because of the Pulitzer prize winning photograph taken by Malcolm Browne.
My study abroad group outside the Thein Mu Pagoda
Inside the Thien Mu pagoda
The car that drove Thích Quảng Đức to his now famous self-immolation.
After the pagoda, we visited the tombs of two Nguyen dynasty kings. The kings built huge complexes where they stayed the last few years of their life and then were buried after death. There were many tombs throughout the complex, and Binh told us that still no one knows where the king was actually buried.
My guess is that this is not where the King was buried.
Tara learns to make incense
Rows and rows of incense lined the streets on the drive back to Hue.
The city of Hue is geographically split by the Perfume River. On the north side of the river, a citadel was built in 1805 to protect the Imperial City. The Imperial city had four main buildings where the king, his family, and his mistresses lived.
The main gateway into the Imperial City.
One of the gates to the citadel, which protects the Imperial City.
Close up of the citadel gate.
Another close up of the mosaic covering the citadel gate.
Kim jumping in front of the citadel!