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Many orphanages are run by Buddhist or Christian monastic communities. Nuns do much of the welfare work in Vietnam that governments would fund in Western countries. Many orphanages are run by Buddhist or Christian monastic communities. Monastic life is important in Vietnam for protection of the socially excluded.

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The Sounds of Vietnam


In these sound recordings from a typical day at a women’s Christian monastery (convent), 40 sisters protect their precious 350 year old monastic tradition with song and prayer chants. Their music underpins local culture and spiritualism in the villages. They belong to the Holy Cross Order and are based in the village of Huong Phuong, Quang Binh Province, Central Vietnam.

These sounds were recorded on a typical day. They include daily rhythms of sisters setting chairs in the dining room; crickets chirping in the convent courtyard; sisters chatting as they wait for the evening bell and choir practice in a poor village.

1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.


1. Prayer Bell – At 4.15am the convent bell (a mortar shell from the Vietnam War) calls the sisters to prayer. The day is interspersed with prayer sessions at 5–6.15am, 10.30–11.00am, 1.35-2.30pm and 7.30-830pm, with lights out at 9pm.