LaVieVuLinh Newsletter #9

Winter is coming, bringing along many changes at LaVieVuLinh…

Months have passed since our last volunteer Charlène left LaVieVuLinh. Here, like many before her, she had a real shock: sheltered away from the hectic life of developed cities, the eco-lodge provides its visitors with an opportunity distance oneself from the urban lifestyle – while indeed offering a memorable moment of calm and fulfilment.
She shared with us her reflexions about her experience – read below!

from hectic to slow life

Although she had been to LaVieVuLinh last April during our Festival, she rediscovers the place under a different atmosphere: in stark contrast with the festive tumult, this time she is greeted with calm. And she cheerfully understands that the place has its own rhythm: LaVieVuLinh can sparkle and burst of energy, but also gently breathe, be in contemplation and slumber…”

At first though, she finds it hard to adapt: used to the functionalist efficiency of the city, she struggles to find a place. “I arrived with clear objectives formulated in an engineer’s jargon: deadlines, brainstorming, management… Words that have no meaning here. I quickly understood that I had to change my approach.
Instead, she has to let the place’s spirit and own pace of time guide her (and her work schedule): weather and local people’s natural inertia won’t care about her frustration, “things are done when they ought to”. Slowness and flexibility teach her about “slow life“, a liberating concept that allows her to take a step back and better apprehend her place in the community.

Beyond the formal title of her internship (Optimisation of the agro-forestry project and rehabilitation of the clean energies project), she integrates the team and the residents of LaVieVuLinh to learn off the beaten track the fundamental values of patience, autonomy, humility and sense of family. She adapts to the rhythm of the lodge that only with the arrival of new clients would leave its inertia and prepare in just a matter of a few days to welcome groups of 90 people (such as the group of cooks from Hanoi who chose to have their team-building event on the lakeshore). She participates in getting VuLinh ready on those occasions, but also on the longer term, eg by setting up the ‘explanatory path’ through the Agroforestry park project area.

After the event though, she quickly reconnects with the land.

Being constantly outside, in the nature, it’s difficult not to feel alive. No roads, no supermarkets… only rice paddies, a lake and a forest. We eat what we produce, with no intermediaries, transformations, plastics, cashiers. Time flows differently. We wake up early, and unchanging steps punctuate the days: breakfast, lunch, diner. We nap when it becomes too hot, and we go to bed early. A natural ease of life constant, simple and adaptating to the prevailing natural elements.

This sobriety comes with beautiful human moments that make her realise that real happiness comes sharing, such as in the daily routine of working in the garden with her colleague Doan: “everyday for 1h30 and after the nap, we would go to the patio and learn French for 45 minutes, then Vietnamese for 45 minutes. It’s a rich exchange that will always make me smile when remembering these moments!”

Time flies and Charlène inevitably has to return to her urban life… But after such an experience, how to go back to a life that seems so hard to apprehend the meaning? Back home, Charlène is faced with the contrast between a happy slow natural pace and hectic consumerism, the sense of community and individualism, simple desires and the endless and often superficial ones… And it seems impossible to bridge the gap between these extremes.

Yet, facing this disturbing situation, she draws strength from a freedom now anchored deep inside of her, and which will help her plant in her daily life the seeds of simple wisdom gathered at LaVieVuLinh.

in brief

With a number of students groups not coming to LaVieVuLinh as they did last year, the Lodge will be switching to a reduced operating mode during the months to come. Travelers are thus kindly invited to book in advance (through our website or partners, the travel agencies) in order to avoid finding “closed gate” in case of random visits to our Lodge. Thank you for your understanding.

Due to the reduced operating mode from the Lodge and thus reduced manpower, maintenance works on the Agroforestry and Biogas Projects will be minimal in the months to come…

all pictures in this newsletter are from Charlène.

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