The guests had breakfast with Pho (Vietnamese traditional noodle) and then enjoyed Vietnamese coffee and tea before observing and starting making "banh chung."

Major Yaseen learns to make a "banh tet" in the guidance of non-commissioned Second Lt. Le Na.

For foreign guests like Major Yaseen, a Pakistani military observer, experience in such a “Vietnamese corner” was a pleasant surprise. He shared that he felt the joyful atmosphere when everyone gathered to make banh chung. The scene looked like a family reunion.

He was also impressed with the impressive and eye-catching decorations to welcome the New Year.

Acknowledging that wherever they are and whatever they do, the Vietnamese people always wish to reunite with their family members during Tet holiday, Major Yaseen highly appreciated the special meaning of the banh-chung-making activity for each Vietnamese person, especially Vietnamese blue-berets who are celebrating Tet far from home. He was surprised at the complicated and time-costing process of banh-chung-making, from the steaming of each banana leaf, washing them and wiping them with clean towels to ensure the quality of banh chung to the maintenance of properly moderate fire during ten hours of cooking.

Excited to show off the first results

Curious about banh chung making and interested in making banh chung by himself, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos, a military observer from Paraguay excitedly said that it looked simple to make a banh chung. However, when he did it by himself, he found it really not easy.

While making banh chung, the Paraguayan officer shared that his country has Holy Week, quite similar to Vietnamese Tet. On this occasion, the Paraguayans also make a typical cake which is much simpler than banh chung.

“Finally, I succeeded (in making banh chung) with the support of Vietnamese friends,” Carlos said.

Knowing that he could bring the self-made banh chung home as a gift, Lt. Col. Carlos was happy. He said that he will return home on furlough in the next few days and he will bring this very meaningful gift for his family to taste. “Definitely it will be the most meaningful gift for my family,” he stressed.

Lt. Col. Ayyub Nazaro introduced to banh-chung-making steps

With dedicated guidance and careful observance, skillful Lieutenant Colonel Ayyub Nazaro, an Azerbaijani military observers, succeed in making his first banh chung. He himself made three banh chung overall. He said that "I can't wait to enjoy banh chung and I'm so happy that I will be given a banh chung made by myself."

Regarding the Vietnamese custom of giving lucky money to children on Tet holiday, the Azerbaijani officer said that his country's traditional holidays are also quite interesting and similar to those of Vietnam when children are also given coins by adults.

He thanked Vietnamese peacekeepers for inviting him to the event during which he and his colleagues had memorable experiences. He did not forget to send best wishes to Vietnamese colleagues on the occasion of the lunar New Year.

According to Lt. Col. Trinh My Hoa, Commanding Officer of the L2FH Rotation 3, apart from banh chung, the hospital presented each guest a tea set made of coconut wood, which was brought from Vietnam.

Lt. Col. Pham Tan Phong, Commanding Officer of the Vietnamese Peacekeeping Force in South Sudan and invite guests.

Lt. Col. Pham Tan Phong, Commanding Officer of the Vietnamese Peacekeeping Force in South Sudan said that this was a good chance for Vietnam to introduce the cultural beauty of Vietnamese Tet to international friends, helping them learn more about the cultural tradition of Vietnam. The L2FH Rotation 3’s members and other Vietnamese officers taking on peacekeeping missions are not only ambassadors of peace, but also ambassadors of culture, contributing their parts to enhancing the understanding, friendship, and cooperation between Vietnam and other countries in the world.

Banh chung and banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cakes filled with green bean paste and pork) are special gifts of the Vietnamese hospital to foreign units and international friends in Bentiu. Through this activity, the culture and tradition of Vietnamese Tet are spread.

Translated by Mai Huong