Testimonial/Review of Rachael Taylor from Australia for Eco Tourism & Community Development projects
This was my first experience working as a volunteer and it did not disappoint. David from Vina Volunteer is an enthusiastic and intelligent man who ensured the entire process ran smoothly. He arranged for my visa, ensured I was greeted at the airport and transferred to my hotel in Hanoi and provided a lot of helpful advice regarding visiting Vietnam.
I undertook the “Ecotourism and Community Development”. After having a few days to explore Hanoi I was met by David at my hotel and we took a bus to the village of Mai Chau to begin our work. Upon arrival at our homestay I met Xuan, a forty eight year old woman who would be my host. Her homestay is clean and comfortable and I was made to feel at home immediately.
The next five days were spent trekking to more remote areas; David, Xuan and I visited different villages of ethnic minority groups including White Thai and Hmong people. David is passionate about developing tourism in the region in a way that benefits the local people. We enjoyed the warm hospitality of the village people and shared many beautiful meals on our journey.
Once the trekking was completed we returned to Mai Chau where I spent the next week editing various documents. David is in the process of developing a website to promote the homestays and treks. I was able to settle into a routine of working on writing content in the mornings, enjoying lunch with Xuan, partaking in the customary post lunch siesta, and taking strolls around the village in the late afternoon.
I highly recommend this program for anyone wishing to immerse themself in the culture of Vietnam. It is rare to be able to live like a local and I enjoyed the experience greatly.