Day Seven was TraumBATizing

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into the Cu Chi tunnels when starting the day. But at the moment I realized this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on, when would I be in Vietnam again? Crawling in the first tunnel wasn’t as bad as I had suspected, I crawled my way through without any issues (issues= bugs) besides one small little spider on my way out but other than that it felt like a breeze. So when we wandered upon the next tunnel, I didn’t see why I wouldn’t be able to conquer this one too. Not gonna lie I was nervous, but I lowered myself into the tunnel, and besides for the little bit of dirt I encountered I was good, and all was fine. As I began crawling through the tunnels, I heard Lauren shriek up ahead. The next bit was all a blur what started off with smiles was now high pitched shrieks and cries… in that 10 seconds, I embodied the typical loud, obnoxious American. But what could I do when a bat was flying at full speed right towards my terrified face. I think I dropped to the ground and whipped off my glasses for reasons that remain unclear. All I remember is shoving Lauren out of the tunnels, climbing full speed out of the steps, emerging glasses in hand, dirt all down my upper body, as tears began to form. The real story may only be known by the bat because I could not tell you the exact account of what happened in the Cu Chi tunnels. Maybe what happened in there should stay in there for now… well everything except the bats, they neeeeed to go.


My horrific experience did help to put things in perspective though. I couldn’t stay more than 10 seconds in the tunnel, how the soldiers lived and navigated through them for months is a mystery to me. I emerged from those tunnels with a new found respect for the men who may not have been in my army but were brave nonetheless. The Viet Cong used these tunnels as a complete underground system to fight against the Americans. We often referred to the soldiers as “ghost soldiers” because they would go in one trap only to emerge from another, begin shooting, and disappear just as quick as they appeared. These tunnels were so artificially camouflaged into the ground that soldiers would not even be able to tell that they were down below. Some great engineering must have gone in to build such a large and complex system. Often they say “history is written by the winners.” In the video, we watched at the site explaining the war tunnels this could not be truer. Often the government referred to American’s as devils and depicted our sole purpose as killing the Vietnamese. But really we weren’t against all Vietnamese and didn’t come into the war just to kill; our mission was to just stop the spread of communism. I don’t believe the winners have all the say in this case. Even though the government builds the presentations in the South, not all of the Southern people believe in what the government says, so they really don’t have as much control as they may think they do. For example today I was walking past the War Remnants museum with one of my Vietnamese friends, and she looked and me and said: “I know you guys went there the other day but don’t believe everything they say because it’s definitely not all true.” I thought that was really interesting that her view was different than the governments and I think it’s this different view that makes globalization possible. The Vietnamese people do not shut out foreigners and believe everything they hear is true and because they don’t foreigners feel invited to come to this country and invest. After the tunnels, we went to a cementary with only a small amount of the Vietnamese soldiers who had died. I was silenced by the number of burial sights that were present and it kind of makes you understand why some people do look at us as devils because so many lives were lost.


Tonight I went to a dog cafe with a few friends. It was a little sad because there was way too many dogs for the amount of space and they didn’t look the best cared for but they were still really cute, and I was happy I could show them a little love. The highlight of the day, maybe even the trip, was when just seconds before we left Alice got peed on right down the back of her shirt.. and like any good friend would do I laughed and took a picture before offering to help.


Today all the motorbike riders seemed to be holding on to something. The first guy was holding onto his eggs that were stacked real high on cardboard boxes. The second girl is holding what appears to be a glass sheet??? Every day I get nervous that I’ll fail my blog and not find a crazy rider, and then I see stuff like this out of my bus window, I really gotta stop doubting the Vietnamese.


~Maddie

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