The Ubiquitous Motorcycle
Vietnam is not only famous for its Pho (traditional Vietnamese noodle soup), Vietnamese sandwiches but also for the hordes and hordes of motorcycles weaving along on all their roads, especially in big cities. The skills of all these riders is amazingly good across all ages and genders and it is really a wonder to see orderly in chaos.
During my last visit there on the last week of March, 2017. I was able to truly appreciate the life of a motorcycle in their everyday life in Vietnam cities and mountainous province. It is a whole new world of travelling with such an experience of the versatile ability of the motorcycles in their everyday life throughout on these few days trip.
Motorcycle transport, a wonder and versatile transport
Apart from being picked up from the airport with a taxi as I was carrying three big luggage, the rest of the journey throughout my stay there was riding pillion with a skillful rider who also is one of the most true and genuine person, including being sent to the international airport with a check-in luggage riding pillion in-between. And to cap it all, squeezing through any single gap while maneuvering through a grid-locked traffic in downtown area. We witnessed one taxi that has to dislodge the passengers and their luggage on the way to the airport because of the gridlock.
Local flight from Ho Chi Minh to Gia Lai Province
Back to the trip’s purpose, this friend would be bringing me to the Gia Lai province in central Vietnam to visit the Bana (Bahnar) Tribal people living in those areas. There are a total of 54 distinct groups of tribal people or mountain tribe group.
As our destination is close to a 10 hour travelling if it is travelling by motorcycle, we decidedly flew in on to Pleiku Airport on cheap tickets the next morning, leaving his motorcycle in the TIA airport motorcycle parking bay for the next few days. Leaving aside his wife and two children for a few days, we started off early for our early morning flight.
Met on arrival at Pleiku Airport with motorcycle
It was a short flight from Saigon HCM city and so we arrives at Pleiku airport in the noon and were met by two brothers, each riding a motorcycle. One motorcycle was passed over to my friend and then we start our journey, to fulfill a mission of purpose and hope to many from the Bana tribe all around the province.
After tucking in to our lunch at a nearby supermarket, we then headed to our first place of visit, easily a few hours of ride with the cooling wind of the Pleiku plateau.
It was close to 4 hours of riding when we arrives at our first destination, the house of one of the two local tribal pastors looking after the people around that area, including a leprosy village that was isolated out from the rest of the surrounding villages.
Building the House of God
Over here one of the purpose of the visit was to bring donated funds for the construction of a simple church building with better and improved facilities, that will be more befitting for the believers congregating and corporately worship of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many believers from nearby areas rally around to cut the trees for the timber needed for some part of the building. With the protection of the One who owns every trees (Ps 104:16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;) With these works of love from other helpful believers, they were able to progress to building the church building with their limited funds.
After this visit, we then had dinner fellowship with the two local pastors at their place and share some blessings with them for their commitment and dedication to serve amidst persecutions.
A hospitable church worker couple’s home
And soon it is on the road again for another one and half hour to reach the house of this hospitable Brother and his family consisting of his lovely wife, one son and one daughter. We will be staying at his place for the rest of the trip here. And when we were there, slowly many of the youths from the church here came to hear from the Vietnamese pastor preacher, who loves to hears his preaching and teachings of Jesus using many animated story telling, nuggets of life lessons on faith and miracles, wrought by a risen Living God.
Though we have to had an early night rest for an early morning start, but because we had a special guest called Tak Kay staying with us who will every ten minutes announces rather loud his trademark name throughout the night, my friend could not manage to get a good sleep. This Tak Kay, once it occupies its premises will stays there all the time. We tried chasing it away but soon it returns again and its tak kay sound was revengeful and angrier.
Visiting a remote village
The next day morning we did sleep a bit more and after a leisurely breakfast, we started off riding with the brigade of motorcycle angels to go to one of the remote villages at the edge of the jungle.
We will be visiting the village where weeks much earlier, many of these youths have put their hearts and their souls with their strength to dig and construct a good well for the village. This was so wonderful when considering that the villagers now have clean water for washing, cooking and drinking. This was actually one of the charity project undertaken by the youths of the local church of the Brother whose house we are staying in .
We started off early around 9.00 plus morning and make it there around noon after a rough two hours plus ride on broken paved road and mostly dirt roads.
The pride of the motorcycle angels – a completed dug well
Upon arrival there, the youths were so happy to show us the completed well project. Many were also excited to feel the fresh well water and we washed up with the water.
“Matthew 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
Before that, people from the nearby surrounding comes with water container to take their water from some water holes for use. However at times these water from the holes water are dirty or polluted and is unfit for consumption purpose or even for washing purpose.
The Project – Digging the well and the volunteers.
They happily shared with us about the project and all the photos and videos they have took, starting with organizing the logistic of transporting the necessary equipment and tools for the work, to a river crossings and the work proper of manually digging all the way to water source.
Off we go and the motorcycle angels ride again
We had our lunch here together with the local pastor and his family and spend some time around that area before heading back as the rain was coming. As these motorcycle angels were riding back, we were caught in the rain as it starts drizzling and our motorcycle was “attacked” with a punctured tyres due to a sharp stone cut. Everyone was rallying around one another as we tackle both these problems together and it was like so much joy and fun. Manage to get flimsy raincoats from shops along the way and also managed to hobbled the punctured bike to a repair shop as I ride pillion with another and another carries three passengers. Unity and love helps the brigade to overcome this “attack” in our strides.
The night was set aside for a special dinner treat to thank all the volunteers. It was indeed a time to celebrate His love and be joyful in the Lord for the many blessings from God, who also has make us to be a blessing to others, both spiritual blessing as well as physical blessings – they get to hear the gospel when they came to take water from the well.
The Lord’s day worship
On Sunday morning, we started off early after breakfast as the plan was to visit four churches. It took us about an hour plus to reach the first location. The church building is a simple building and was been build through generous donors who sows into this ministry.
After having lunch and fellowship with the congregation and some rest, we are back on the road again as we get onto our motorcycles and headed to the next church which is about an hour ride away.
Visiting the second church
This second church is also the place where many believers have participate to help to dig a second well. During this visit, the local church deacons show the completed well and talks about the benefits of this dug well to nearby community.
After this second service ended here, and with not much time to lose, we started to hit the road again to the third church location, which is one where these skillful motorcycle angels encountered challenging terrains to maneuvers those motorcycles through.
Riding on to the third church
However the ride is much shorter and less than an hour to this next church by using this shortcut.
We spent quite a bit of time here as they have discussions of certain matters prior to the start of Service.
After the Service ended, we were treated to a dinner with the church members and more fellowship time. It was by then quite late to visit the 4th church and we made our way to go back home. Along the way we were again “attacked” with another tyre puncture due to hitting a sharp screw. Once again the team rally together and soon we found a repair shop to take care of the problem. Here, we sat down to some sweet time of fellowship communion, having experienced so much of the Lord’s goodness, being blessed in so many ways by Him, So much to thank Him for, thanking Him for more role models to imitate.
Cool chilling ride back to home base
After that it was a long chilling windy ride back home, tough on the rider with the cold wind coursing through his face and body and the ride was also arduously close to two hours. It requires tough motorcycle riding skills to takes the tough beating from all these riding and maneuvering against the elements. Indeed this is a high calling for the work of the gospel.
“A Gentle Reminder from the Lord: more role models not more leaders”