It was a big surprise not only for the children, but also for the adults who attended his seminars.
It was the first class of 'life skills' to be presented by Professor Toan, with the very sensitive topic of sex. People assumed the children would be too embarrassed or hesitant to participate. But, his confidence and teaching methodology encouraged them to open up, to speak bravely and ask as many questions as possible.
Besides the children living with us in the OBV house, OBV supports other children, who for special reasons could not live with us, and instead now either remain with their parents, or at centres with specialized cared. However, OBV still remains in contact with them by phone, and endeavor to visit them a few times a year.
This summer, beyond the usual activities and picnics, the children had other plans at home.
Some on them, in highschool, started studying their new subjects, while the rest of them reviewed what they had learnt the previous year. OBV'S House Mother created a schedule for them to include learning cross stitch, musical instruments, painting and other handicrafts. They had opportunities to bake a variety of cakes as well as create their own new dishes. All this happened while the skies were dark with rain clouds, and Saigon went under water a few times from the storms.
The first Friday of every month sees the girls of OBV VN settling in for a session with our team of social workers, to learn 'life skills' that may further the quality of their every day lives. The topic for the session in October was "Helpful hints to using Facebook and the Internet", a topic that was eagerly welcomed by all the girls as their access to the internet is quite limited in comparison to others. The girls participated in all the conversation topics with enthusiasm, followed by a Question and Answer segment where they bombarded Duy with question after question.
an old article...
We all know that "parents place their children" but as they didn't want their children to move here with heavy hearts when knowing that they didn't want to leave their lovable place with lots of memories.
Those few days, when I took the children to District 9, I also wanted to help them to have psychological preparation in order to adapt to new place happily and comfortably. That afternoon, taking them around the village, when we just left our houses, we saw a target "Ecotourism area"; we asked around and got to know that it was 2 km away. Oh, so let's walk, just come and see.
an old article..
OBV celebrated the Memorial Day of Hung Vuong
It's time for the finals. The children must be nervous and tired for studying so hard for their final exams. It was a holiday. Since the morning, the management had been planning an unprepared short picnic for the children to relax a little bit. A few ideas were mentioned: fishing, snail hunting, playing in the park, etc. However, none of these were chosen by the majority due to a few constraints. Finally, everybody supported Mother N.'s idea of camping right in the OBV garden. All the tasks assigned must be accomplished quickly, on time within scouting discipline.
You've been with us for over a month now, and when we ask you what your biggest hopes and dreams are, you reply earnestly that you'd like to go back to school. 16 years old with a grade 3 education. We can't meet up with your parents, as it'll only bring danger and further troubles for you: your father can abuse your further, your mother does not have the capabilities to protect you, your risk of abuse and being sold is extremely high. And you don't have a single piece of identification....how can we help you?
An old article...
It had been two months since the repair and reopening of the OBV Home. A number of issues arised while dealing with the kids, some relating to house chores such as a broken water pump, some involving other stories such as skipping school for abdominal pain, not understanding the courses, etc. I thought: "Oh my God, we only have four kids in the house and everything is just a mess, if we had forty, what would happen then? Hopefully we will get more experience as we go."
OBV welcomed new member
As usual, our kids did not have classes on Saturday morning, so they didn't have to study yesterday evening. Instead, they had some fun activities. Because they knew there was meteor shower early in the morning, they woke up on 2 A.M. to wait for it. But they didn't see any meteor. So they came back to bed. Mother N. let them sleep for 30 minutes more to compensate for the sleep last night.
As we had discussed with A.P's family, they decided to take her to OBV. However, because she was taking her exam, they were afraid that she would be homesick on the first days that may have a negative impact on her learning. OBV's supervisor said that OBV wished to see her after her exam. This morning, her family took her to our house. When her parents leave for home, she stayed here and played with other kids.
Mr. Sy also came here today. As a psychologist, he understands our kids clearly. Our kids loved his humanity class because besides lessons, he also had some games and good songs. A.P got along well with other kids in these activities. The song "Noi mot vong trong" (Be in a circle) made her shyness disappear and she began to introduce herself.
Psychologist Pham Sy taught kids in OBV
While we were having lunch, Ms. Kim Vy came to our house as she said last weekend. She brought two big watermelons and delicious flan cakes just for us. Our kids said: "As Ms. Kim Vy looks tomboy, we didn't think she's very good at cooking". That's the way it goes. There are still a lot of surprises, kids. Although she looks so, she always comes to us with a big heart.
Ms. Kim Vy with a very big heart.
Our weekend had a lot of memorable activities. It became just perfect as our kids prepared to go to the Church this evening.
Translated by Lam Nhat Le. Orginal version in Vietnamese entitled "Ngày Cuối Tuần"
an old article...
"Many a child smiling in new clothes. Happy New Year."
A visitor came to an OBV hose and told Father Thong, "Here the children are so happy!" Father Thong replied gently, "My children cannot be as happy as your children. But those are my children and I would like to do the best to my children, as you were doing, are doing, and will be doing the best to your children."
In fact, not only on the Tet occasion but on other occasions like New School Year or Christmas, OBV children are taken are of very specially. This year is not an exception. Tet came quickly. Everybody was busy preparing for tet when the Christmas season hadn't been over yet.
Sister L. couldn't wait to bring joy to the children. That morning, she took each child's measurement, and went shopping for their clothes. At 1:00 pm, she called and offered to bring clothes to the house. She came and discussed things with Sister N. in the living room, but children in the sleeping room must have heard their talking and felt excited. Soon after they got up, a child asked, "Has Sisier L. bought our clothes?"_ "Yes, that's right." _ "Could we see them?"
Pic: OBV children trying their new clothes with excitement.
Pic: Each was thrilled and happy receiving their New Year gift.
There's an old saying which is very true:
"Happy as when an elderly receives a bowl of soup, happy as when a child gets a new shirt."
"Many a child smiling in new clothes. Happy New Year."
M.J. Hồ Ngọc
Translated by Thuy Nguyen. Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Âm Vang Mùa Xuân"