On January 11, residents of Sooke have an opportunity to trip on over to Vietnam for an evening. Or rather, for a taste of Vietnamese culture at the Sooke Legion anyway.
The Canada World Youth (CWY) students who have recently come to our town will be hosting a Giving Means Fundraiser dinner, which will be held at the Legion on Saturday, starting at 7 p.m.
According to Vietnamese exchange student Chi Tran, a major component of the evening will be to portray Vietnam as the country it is today. Chi Tran views the exchange program as an opportunity both to learn how to live with others in different cultures, and also to act as a spokesperson for today’s Vietnam.
“Vietnam is a developing country,” she emphasized.
Many in the western world think of Vietnam in terms of the Vietnam war, which was concluded almost 40 years ago with the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
“Vietnam is developing at an astonishing pace,” writes the Lonely Planet, adding “Vietnam’s economy is growing at more than 8% … . The future is bright.”
And the BBC pegs it as having “one of south-east Asia’s fastest-growing economies and has set its sights on becoming a developed nation by 2020.”
Vietnamese project supervisor Son Truong shares Tran’s passion on wanting to project an image of today’s Vietnam. Both he and Tran want the guests of Sooke’s Good Evening Vietnam to get a taste of their culture.
One of Canada’s exchange students, Noah Charbonneau from Beaverton of northern Ontario, said he has become a master roller of spring rolls.
The traditional Vietnamese menu set for that evening will include spring rolls, fried rice, Vietnamese-styled beef, salad and a dessert. Which all of the 18 exchange students will have had a hand in creating (nine from Vietnam, and nine from across Canada).
The evening will also include bamboo dancing, traditional ao dai (Vietnamese traditional costume) dancing, and a silent auction. Diners will have the splendid opportunity to shed a few calories by participating in the bamboo dancing. Instruction will be provided.
The funds that are raised will go towards the Canada World Youth Giving Means project. This year, the Sooke CWY students will fundraise for four countries: Ghana, Honduras, Bolivia and Kenya. The projects include a women’s shelter technology centre (Bolivia); a community bakery and equipment rental for community events (Ghana); a building latrines for healthier waste management and a crafts microenterprise for people living with HIV/AIDS (Honduras); and, a camping equipment rental initiative and local agricultural initiative (Kenya).
According to their website (canadaworldyouth.org), “Giving Means projects are youth-led development projects that promote change in the local community and provide economic opportunities for the youth involved.” So far, CWY teams have raised over $35,000 across Canada.
Project supervisor Dana Holtby, Sooke has been involved with CWY for over 20 years. This dinner would be a great opportunity for anyone interested in the Canada World Youth program, intercultural events, and/or Vietnamese culture.