Mother Ngoc counting the little soldiers before departure!
"I gave D a pencil, I gave Linh some bread..."
"I received toys from Mother, love from Mother and Aunt, clothes from the older sisters..."
"I gave the younger sisters food and clothes, shared sad and happy times with them; gave Mother, Aunt and Uncle my loud and earnest laughter..."
"I received material as well as spiritual gifts from the OBV family..."
During a round of "Give and Receive", some girls are simple and innocent, some are mature and sincere.
The teacher and all the kids in elementary
So gone are those hot, humid sweltering summer days with continuous rain in July. There was a time for beginning and also time for an end, as we reached the end of our English semester. Today is the day of our farewell party with our beloved teacher Ms. Diem Van – a volunteer who came all the way from the U.S to help teach us English.
She came and stay with us at the beginning of June. The initial moment of surprise and shyness quickly went away because your teacher is a young lady who quickly blended in and adapted with the group easily. The class were divided into two, the older kids study on the odd days while the younger kids study on the even days.
You are a kind, beautiful girl with a nice warm smile that will light up any room you walk into.....But many years ago, there was no smile on your face. Life was so cruel when it took your own mother away and leaving you behind all alone in this cruel world. You lived in a house with 4 men, they are heartless and barbaric men, who abused you and took advantage of you, didn't matter if you are a stranger or family member.
You came to OBV when you were almost 16 with an immense pain that no words can describe. Because you are too kind hearted, you seemed gullible, naïve and weak but just because you were merely looking for some understanding, some protection and some tender loving care from the people that you know as well as strangers.
We always organize a birthday celebration every three months for the children whose birthdays fall within those months. This time, the party was for three girls. Just a simple cake and a little "special something" were enough to make them happy. That day, the House Assistant cooked a pot of bún bò (beef vermicelli soup) to eat with the whole family. This birthday was also attended by two older sisters, who had already started working. With the money earned by themselves, they bought the cake for their younger sisters. Mother and the other aunts were glad to see them so grown up and taking care of the younger ones.
Mother and the girls with the candle-lit cake.
Summer comes, the children in OBV Vietnam can leave school works aside to participate in Summer activities.
They are taught English by Miss Diễm Vân who is a volunteered teacher coming from the USA. She works very hard in dividing class into different levels to correctly match with the children's ages and their comprehension.
The English teacher and children are meeting for introduction
Managing Sister and the children of OBV VN celebrate Father's Day
Dear Father, on this Sunday we celebrate all our fathers, for we know that our fathers are most deserving of this honor and respect.
Although you did not bring us into this world and nurtured us, we know that you have made many sacrifices and care deeply for all of us; you have extended your arms widely to envelop and embrace us into your heart. Father, we know that you work tirelessly day and night; when we hear that you barely sleep – at times merely resting yours eyes for a couple of hours at night – our hearts cannot help but ache for you!
On summer, when there is no school and the OBV children have time to relax after a stressful semester; Dad, Mom, aunt and uncles make a plan for them to have fun, still don't forget teach them the lessons of life: the value of work, the co-operation in family. And the first lesson they have learnt today is the value of work. They have weaved basket, a work required of patience. Maybe because the majority of them come from poor families, weaving basket seems easy to them. Everyone started to work excitingly. To prepare for this, I had to go to the factory to learn to weave. Then I took the material home and showed them how to weave a complete basket.
The life is marked by different periods as well as the school life. It's happy for those who are lucky enough to be able to go to school, and they will never forget their school lives. The heat of summer, the sounds of cicadas, the color of Flamboyant flowers make everyone's heart flutters. It's time to relax after a stressful school year, but with you, students in ninth grade, summer means saying good bye, starting a new stage and marking a new step of maturity and turning 15 years old, the year of dreams and the open skies.
From June 7 to 9, in tenth year ordination anniversary, Dad Thong organized a field trip to Hon Rom beach for Vietnam and Cambodia OBV children. Particularly in this trip, a special guest, Mom Nga, was present. Being a physician, she had anonymous donated most of the income earnings to support the children financially for all past years.
The heartbeat of the children in Cambodia rushed down and up constantly when preparing for the journey. Although applying for the passports three months ago, there were hassles in processing the legal documents. Even in last couple of days before the journey, the official said: "Not done yet, with reason: government violence." The OBV members searched another alternative path to get the legal passports so all children could participate in this meaningful trip. The documents weren't done until Thursday night before the Saturday - which was the day to leave for the field trip.
The Cambodia OBV children are arriving in Vietnam
The Cambodia OBV children visited the OBV "Feb 5th" store, while waiting for the bus to bring them to OBV Vietnam house