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Our Surprise Program

Today a surprise event was planned. Nobody, except the project team of course, knew what was scheduled until Friday evening…

The journey began with a bus tour to the province of Ninh Binh. Ninh Binh is about three hours away from Hanoi. During the bus ride to our goal, we stopped first at a workshop, run by disabled people and then at the Temple of King Le Dai Hanh and King Dinh Tien Hoang.

At our first stop we learned about the story of dioxin victims. During the America Vietnam war from 1961-1971 about 400’000 people were killed or maimed and about 500’000 children were born with a disability, as a result of agent orange toxic. The persons affected have problems with sensory functions, some of them are even mute or deaf and others can hardly move. In the workshop for disabled people these concerned persons have a working place, where they make handmade purses, ties, scarfs, etc. These beautiful things are presented at this workshop and we had the opportunity to buy some of these gorgeous objects and therefore assist them.

Afterwards, we stopped at the Temple of two kings – the places to worship Kings of Dinh and Le Dynasties. The temple of Le Dai Hanh is about 200 meters north of the temple of Dinh Tien Hoang. The architecture of the two temples is similar. The temples still retain their original architectural beauty. Although the Le Temple is smaller than the Dinh Temple, it has a quite mysterious atmosphere. It has three halls, including a sanctuary, an incense burner and a main palace. Our tour guide told us the interesting story about these two temples and we learned the meaning of the dragon symbol. This symbol could only use royal members. Normal people were not allowed to use the dragon symbol, they could even be killed for using it.

After arriving in the province of Ninh Binh, we had a short lunch break. Afterwards we went for a cycle tour. The bicycles are quite different than in Switzerland. We also cycled on a narrow path, where we could enjoy the beautiful view of a landscape. At last a boat ride was planned, where we were rowed up a river and back. This river wanders through amazing limestone mountains and passes through three limestones caves in the mountain. The ride took about one and a half hour. We had a lot of fun and everybody enjoyed the cosy ride before heading back to the hotel in Hanoi.

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