The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here

Ida and kids. They tried to speak English and asked if we had snow in Norway.
Ida and kids. They tried to speak English and asked if we had snow in Norway.

The six of us were fortunate enough to be selected as the Norwegian IWitness participants to go to Vietnam. Dan works in IKEA Furuset as a Recovery Co-worker, he has been with IKEA for 16 Years. His biggest passion is photography and he is our designated photographer on this trip.

Ida works as an HR-Generalist in IKEA Slependen. She has been with IKEA for eight years and also has experience from sales. Ida is the bundle of energy on this trip.

Nu works as a Competence Developer in the call centre. She has been with IKEA for three years. She also has experience from the digital team. Her ethnicity is Vietnamese and she is an excellent resource as an extra interpreter and bridge-builder.

Gudrun is a Communication Specialist in our service office. She has been in IKEA for two years. She is our project co-ordinator for this trip and guides us through the days.

Sjur works in recovery and maintenance, He’s been in IKEA for nine years. Sjur is the balanced one in our group and the one who leads us “safe” across the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

Jeanette works in IKEA Leangen as a Checkout Service Manager. She’s been with the company for 10 years. Jeanette is the positive one in our group, with a contagious laugh.

We are also lucky enough to have with us Tina from Save the Children Norway. She is the one that gets us out awkward situations.

Everyone outside the school and excited to meet the kids
Everyone outside the school and excited to meet the kids

We all met at Oslo Airport Saturday morning, vigorous and ready to go, full of expectations. Common for us all was little knowledge of the Vietnamese school system and culture. Our expectations for the school standard was a lot lower than the reality. We all got positively surprised when we saw the school buildings and the necessary equipment like books, notebooks, utensils and even a small computer room. The sound level in the schoolyard was louder than we had ever expected and a little crowded and small.

Look at these happy kids in the schoolyard!
Look at these happy kids in the schoolyard!
Many kids in the schoolyard waiting to perform for us.
Many kids in the schoolyard waiting to perform for us.

There is not much room for play in the yard. Still the children appear happy and satisfied. What we immediately noticed was the high temperature, both in the yard as well as in the classrooms. We noticed that it was not only us Norwegians who were affected by the heat, as both teachers and pupils had sweat pearls. We were welcomed by almost 2,000 cheering, singing and clapping pupils, and immediately felt like superstars. Our first meeting exceeded all our expectations.

The children were singing and asking us question about Norway. We also got the chance to ask them about what they want to become when they are older, what they do after school and what their favourite class is.
The children were singing and asking us question about Norway. We also got the chance to ask them about what they want to become when they are older, what they do after school and what their favourite class is.

Next there will be a new blog entry that will describe in more detail our meetings with the pupils.