Again, Dr. Thanh-Tam has spent time to work with OBV in South East Asia almost every year.
First, to visit the OBV children in Vietnam (of course!)
Taking the girls in the warm shelter to the bicycle shop to buy a new one
After coming back from Tay Ninh Province Department of Education and Training, we prepared for T. to go to the city and went to the Department of Education and Training in Ho Chi Minh City to finish her formality to move to the new school.
Two days after sending her documents to the department, we were called to add temporary residence certificate for T. Coming to the ward office to ask for that, I was told to come to area office at night. At 20:00, I went there, all the police had gone for their work and weren’t there. I asked the police we met in the morning and were told to buy a temporary residence notebook and leave it there; whenever the police come back, they will sign the notebook (if he had told me about that when I first met him to ask for the temporary residence document, I wouldn’t have to go there several times)
After confirming that the principal of Nguyen Van Troi Hig¬h School had come back after his trip, I phoned an OBV’s worker, asking to go with me to Tay Ninh to finish the formality for attending a new school for NT. How lucky it was that that friend got a day off, so we went to Tay Ninh together.
We departed on 7:30 A.M. I almost forgot to bring along my camera to take photos during the trip.
It seemed to be sunnier than last time, but it wasn’t too hot. We were going on the streets with green rice fields on both sides. It made us feel pleasant to enjoy the sight. Suddenly, my partner saw a peaceful sight: a stork standing on a buffalo. My partner told me to stop for a little while to take a photo of that great moment.
Her old school…
After leaving Tay Ninh, we moved to the next part of our journey directly. That was searching for a high school for T. to study at. Thanks to prayers of lots of people, we found out a high school in Sai Gon that agreed to receive her. But because she was in grade 10, formality to attend a new school was difficult.
After coming to ask at the Department of Education and Training in Ho Chi Minh City, I was told to ask for a permission letter given by a Principal of a high school in Ho Chi Minh City, and then a recommendation letter from the Principal of the school the girl was studying at. I went to the Department of Education and Training in Tay Ninh Province along with all of the documents about her educational progress to ask for permission to let her study in Ho Chi Minh City.
We got to know about a poor girl’s story in Tay Ninh by reading newspaper. She was abused by her father. Her suffering was known when her pregnancy was in its 5th month. After searching for important information, our group of four people from OBV and The Bridge To Happiness Center (Yen Thao, The Khanh, Thanh Linh and Pham Sy) was on the way to Tay Ninh directly.
We got to An Suong bus station at 8:00 A.M with breakfast of bread and soy milk. After being advised by the ticket selling service, we decided to get on a 25-seat bus. But all of us were very worried because this was our first time to be there. We didn’t know the way to go there. We were afraid of getting lost or getting off at the wrong place. But we had no way to play it now. So we just did the best, and let God do the rest.
We departed at 8:30 A.M. but there were still some untaken seats on the bus so the drivers kept the bus running around almost 30 minutes to get more customers. Sy and I were sitting on the last bench of seats so I was thinking about a picture of too many people getting on this bus.
We were like on a horse, going up and down, during 2-hour trip until we got there safely. Thank God!
We got there!
an old article...
After the online psychology lesson on Thursday mornings, at 11:00 some staff of OBV and Nhip cau Hanh Phuc organization moved to the new place for preparation.
That morning, I asked Liem and Phuong, two collaborators of OBV for their help with some “logistics”. For my part, I stayed at the office to welcome Mr. Thinh, Mr. Quyen and Father Giuse Hoang Quan who would come and bless OBV. Father arrived late for he had had a regular training this morning for priests in the diocese at the Court of Archbishop ...
It wasn't an easy trip: a bus ride, a motorbike taxi, a short trek....we were still able to reach Miss T. A child of 13 years old, porcelain features with a slight developmental delay that had recently become victim of sexual abuse...an easy target to the predators of her neighborhood.
Working for One Body Village, having a day off was a luxury that we couldn't afford. Regardless of the circumstances, date, or time, Father Martino and Mother Ngoc were there whenever the children needed help.
Mother Ngoc was sick. She had had a high fever and displayed other symptoms of the flu for over a month. She was pale, her voice was hoarse. But when I reported of a child in desperate need of help from One Body Village, she was the first to spring into action.
It was a very early morning start, yet we -- a child, her family and myself -- would not arrive to OBV's gates til the afternoon.
It was Dr. Ehum's second time in Vietnam and Cambodia, to visit the beloved girls he had met last year. A Korean-American with his own medical practice in the USA, he closed for half a month to spend precious time with the children.
During his stay, while short, it seemed he didn't get much sleep, with most if not all of this time spent with the girls, whether it was playing with them in the front yard, hanging out in the community room, waking them up and walking them to school, helping them with their studies, participating in household chores and eating meals with them. When the girls slept, he patrolled the area to make sure the girls were safe and well rested.
Visiting the old house of OBV's Cambodia in a small Vietnamese's village filled with so many stories of undocumented Vietnamese trap. Where children laugh and play in streets not knowing what the future lie ahead. Please keep them in your prayers.
Every year, OBV say 'see you later' to our girls, as they travel home to their villages to spend Tet with their families. A few of our girls haven't seen their families since they arrived, and are eager to travel -- despite the long distances to places like DakLak -- to be reunited with their loved ones.
It'll be two weeks without the usual chaos of getting the girls ready for school, for meals, and for bed, and we look forward to having them back with us, refreshed and ready for the new year!
Click here to view the Vietnamese version titled "Tết Của Các Con"