After a few hard weeks of preparing for the end of year examination, our girls got to spend a weekend letting go of their stress with Jesse, an American volunteer, after 2 years of being apart.
With the stifling hot and humid Saigon weather, the girls were more than happy and enthusiastic to let Uncle Jesse take them to Dam Sen water park to cool off.
The first lesson in my life is Love and Giving. I was born in a love filled catholic family so maybe I do not deeply understand what the kids have gone through before they stepped in the OBV house. Because when I looked back all their psychological and physical traumas I found that they have the common point is that living in families lacking the warm of love. However; to my astonishment, the kids are now gradually learning the way to give their love and their care for the others.
A girl fell as playing on the river bank. All of them stopped the game and gathered to console the weeping girl. One of them put the hand to cover her eyes so she could not see the grazed knee that was cleaning by Ms. Ha (our child care staff)
Everyone has his home to come back. And at least one period of life is worth recollecting; that’s childhood. The childhood of every child should be the time living without worry or illness, with only happiness beside their family, friends and others. However, there have recently come more and more cases of child sexual abuse that mainly involve children from 2 to 14 years old in their schools; for example, 23 children in Lao Cai primary school, 3 children in Sapa primary school, 3 children in Lam Dong and others unknown cases that haven’t been invoked in newspapers.
The first moment to make acquaintance with the girls in OBV Cambodia:
A wonderful and colorful sweet soup shop with various kinds of desserts, many choices but only Cambodian palm sweet soup did attract most of them.
Some exciting game competition and the innocence of the kids shown when they played by the bank of the Mekong river.
A quiet and peace moment at the end of the day for the night prayer to thank God and thank each other with the participant of the “four legs member of family”-a loving dog MiMi as well.
May such bright smiles always blossom on their lips and may such blissful moments of peace be bestowed upon their lives forever and ever.
Peter Duy Nguyen
OBV has conducted our mission to prevent child sexual abuse since 2009. At that time, we came to “open every door” and insisted on cooperating with many people, but the things we received were somehow only promises without any actions, or even certain “conditions” out of our reach. We have never given up; day-by-day we attempted to get access to remote areas, meet parents and get them know how to help their children aware of the risks involved with sexual abuse. We came to some places that we have contacts with first, and then other places where the government officials were very interested in and enthusiastic about our mission. Over the years, we have never ceased our efforts to overcome obstacles by obstacles. In general, we can win people’s trust for our work. However, we sometimes have to use “finance” to convince people from rural areas to come to listen to the issues that they need to know for the sake of protecting their children. We even had to pay for their off day so that they could attend the talks attentively without worrying at all. Some locals really welcome us, while others just have to because of their seniors’ command. It doesn’t matter how they behave; we still keep going.
Today, we’ve received contacts from two official media offices. They would like to be one of our partners in OBV’s mission. Nothing is happier than you are not lonely on your road; the road sure will be shorter.
It is hoped that OBV’s house where the abused children are brought up at present will be closed one day! If all of us join hands to raise all the society classes’ awareness that children are not sexual tools for anyone.
Will our dreams come true? The answer is for each of us.
Going through a long road in the heat of April, I finally met her. She is really brave; she dares to fight against her relatives’ immorality by accusing of their behavior though she knows that lots of rumor will come to her. She stands up for the sake of a teenage girl who wants to find the way for her own future.
When we come to pick up her for a visit to OBV’s house, it’s really interesting to hear to the conversation between her and her younger sister.
She: Do you study hard? Are there any days off?
Her sister: Yes, I study very hard, no days off.
She: But I heard that you have some days off. Dare you tell lies to me?
Her sister: Only Friday, because the teacher didn’t come to class…
She acts like a very powerful elder sister (though she is just a stepsister) when she asked and even threatened her sister with a very lovely voice. I believe that her great courage will help her grow up and be a good example for her sister to follow.
See you, the brave girl, in the happy house where you will be definitely happy!
Dr. Ehum and the OBV-Cambodia children
Only a few months out of every year do our kids recieve visitors who come and stay with them at the OBV house, not just donate money and toys. Dr. Ehum, Mr. And Mrs. Kingston stayed with the girls for several days and got to know their daily routines, as well as got to know them on a personal level by playing games with them and making them feel special.
Let's forget about all that happened before bringing the girls to their new home with OBV. "Van su khoi dau nan" where everything, including our house, was either borrowed or rented. These past three years, thanks the love and generosity of our supporters, our OBV children can finally say they have their own home. However, care for the house must be made every day, with additions and renovations being made, until finally...the management team are at ease knowing the that girls are safe and at peace.
Although the garden is not very large, the team at the house continue to develop it, not leaving any inch unused, to the point where Father Thong said 'Mother! You keep planting every thing to the point it makes my head spin when I look at it!'. But you know what Father? Despite your head spins, it provides lots of shade and the perfect environment for our girls and visitors alike. Many plants have produced flowers or fruits, and the fruits have readily been eaten. Our big failure would be the sugarcane plants your brought back from Lao Cai...they couldn't survive the Saigon environment.
But that's not all. Mother also now has a mini acquarium and bird enclosure where the kids can hang out and relax while watching the animals play. It is also healing, to the human soul.
As a child, she suffered alone, with no parents, no next of kin. When a couple adopted her, she dared to dream that my life would become brighter, but...who would ever imagine that the roof they supplied would become a life of pain and sorrow.
She was only allowed to study to 5th grade, when she was forced to drop school and take up the life of a street kid to earn money for her adoptive parents: through begging, selling lottery tickets, working in coffee shops....