Dr. Ehum has individual talk with the OBV children.
Both OBV in Vietnam and Cambodia were very lucky to have Doctor John Ehum visit both locations, to get to know the girls, the staff, and the work that OBV do. It was an exciting week for John, with visits to Vietnam house, Cambodia house and a comprehensive tour of Kuala Lumpur and the work of OBV in Malaysia.
I got the opportunity to sit with Dr John at the beginning of the trip, and again at the very end, to talk about his expectations and experiences.
Jacqueline: So let's talk about your expectations coming into Vietnam and Cambodia. What were you thinking prior to your trip?
John: It was my first time to Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia so in terms of the countries and culture, I'm not quite sure what I was walking into. However, having worked with Dr. T.T for many years and heard her stories about OBV, I was very willing to go and see first-hand what the work involved, while experiencing new cultures.
Dr. John Ehum was welcomed to the OBV house with songs and a few simple Korean phrases, a moment that was truly heart-warming.
Dr. John joined in on all of the house activities, including going to mass with the children on Saturday afternoon, then waking up early Sunday morning to help with the household chores, including sweeping and taking out garbage.
After breakfast, he took the time to sit with each child to get to know them, their personalities, their hopes and dreams and goals. After the girls shared their stories with him, they said a prayer together, where Dr. John gave thanks and asked for blessings so that they may reach their goals. In just under 24 hours, he was able to remember all their names and point them out, which made the girls feel loved and appreciated.
To support OBV, he chose a piece of artwork, hand-embroided by one of our girls, to take home as a memory of his new family.
After finishing up his individual talks with the girls, Dr John treated them to a day out at the park, lunch, and karaoke. The children accompanied him to the airport, where they said good-bye with heavy hearts.
Thank you Dr John. Although your visit was very short, the time has left a big footprint in the hearts of our girls, and we hope to see you again very soon in the future!
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh. Original version in Vietnamese entitled:"Người bạn đồng hành của OBV- Bs John Ehum"
Here is a story of a young woman, a sex-trafficked victim that is forgotten on the soil of Malaysia.
When she was alive, OBV did not know of her.
OBV was contacted when she died and no one was willing to take care of her after-life arrangements.
Once a year Kelly comes back to Vietnam to make charity trips in South and North of Vietnam. This year Kelly with her mates also come to see children at OBV’s house with their compassion.
5th & Last Working day in Malaysia.
Shared information about sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, smoking, and work violence with the Vietnamese laborers/workers that currently work in Malaysia. Most of them are here illegally and have much challenges with language, culture difference, transportation, attending Vietnamese Mass, and missing families and Vietnam. We celebrated together with deliciously simple dishes prepared by the workers. Talked to the VN priest and the Malaysian priest who are assisting workers.
Thank you for all your hospitality and yet still find joy and hope in difficult circumstances.
Goodbye OBV Malaysia for now. Thank you for your hard work, perseverance and hospitality.
4th Working Day in Malaysia
Presented the new research on Adverse Childhood Events - how ACE's affect brain growth and development, & how we can optimize brain development. Also shared ideas for self-care to avoid compassion fatigue.
The Community Leaders were from the 14 ethnic groups of Myanmar. They, themselves are refuges waiting for re-settlement. Some have waited for 11 years.
Some refugees were exploited prior to arrival in Malaysia. They are living with poverty, unemployment, family separation, depression, and unknown future.
Third Working Day in Malaysia - a long day.
Visited and talked to the refugees children. They came from Myanmar, Syria, Pakistan, ... & have waited years to re-settle in another country.
Second day in Malaysia...
The VN undocumented workers in Malaysia.
There was one lady who was exhausted from constant work without rest. When she asked to stop work, her wage was forfeited.
Taught survivors of human trafficking (sex & domestic servitude) basic principles of healthy lifestyle, hygiene maintenance, and signs/symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. A large number of survivors are from VietNam and Thailand. A smaller number are from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, and China.
Dr. John and I saw a number of ladies with complaints of gastritis, abdominal pain, constipation, sleeping problems, headaches, dizziness ....
(photo by Angela Ng)
Shared the principles of Informed Trauma Care to over 30 staff members - caretakers, case managers, social workers and security force, at a shelter for survivors of human trafficking (sex & organs trafficked.) The main idea: "treat survivors with compassion and respect", build genuine relationship.
Dr. John examined many young ladies. His first prescription for treatment: compassionate & caring hearts.
The Mekong River divided abject poverty and relatively more advanced life. Yet, in deprived circumstances, liquor is still man's friend. How do children learn and live?
Last night, when OBV Cam family was out for dinner at 8pm, there were 2 kids selling merchandises. A sister - 12 year old and a brother - 8 year old who have been selling on street for last 4 years with mom to support each other & 5 year old sibling. Father is an alcoholic that left family to live with another women. They have to make 5000 riels (4000= $1) a night, but mom does not beat them if not making the quota. However, last night, their mom went home early to rest because she had a headache. I offered them something to eat which they took readily. However, they kept looking outside the door because they had to make sure their ride didn't leave them alone.
One needs to believe their story with a grain of salt ...! One may not know the real truth.
The children have to go around to sell merchandises at night to earn a living for him/herself & families.
Dr. Thanh-Tam Nguyen
On those busy days at the end of the year, besides taking care of the kids who are living and studying at OBV, our thoughts are in home kids. We want all of them to be happy and enjoy Tet as other children do.
All of OBV children were taken to shop for new clothes; they also received lucky money for the Lunar New Year.