We were waiting for about 20 minutes but no one came to pick us up. We couldn’t contact them by phone because of power off, so we decided to walk into the road as we were told. We were on our way that a man came to us and asked if we were the ones from Saigon coming here to visit the child. Then we all figured out that while we were waiting for him on the big road, he was waiting for us on the small one. His phone was broken so that he couldn’t call us.
Following his direction, we got to the girl’s house. She was at school until 11:00 A.M. We met her grandfather and talked to him while waiting for her to come back from school.
The man directing us worked for the Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Department.
Her grandfather told us her story slowly. Her mother had died for 6 or 7 years. The girls had lived with their father since then. Her father was very kind. But drinking too much alcohol had changed his personality. After the girl’s story was discovered, her grandmother talked to the police. Her father was sentenced to 6 years in prison. Those months, their grandparents hadn’t taken care of the girls. The girls lived together, just the two of them. Their parents’ home was near their home so their grandfather came to see them very often. Their grandfather was an old men and was taking care of other two kids. He was afraid that he could not take care of the girls because he was taking care of other two kids studying in the city.
We told him about OBV’s activities and made a request for taking the girl to the city to continue her education. But he was worried that the girls were too close to live far away from each other, because they had been side by side since they were little. However, he was touched to know there were some organizations like OBV working around them.
The girls’ grandfather was telling their story at the house where just the two of them were living.
Then he got some work so he came home. We sat there and waited for the girl coming back from school.
It was about 11:00 that the girl came back from school. She stood out with a sad appearance, black skin, walking without looking forward. Everyone came out, walked along with her on the way to her grandparents’ home and cheered her up.
We listened to her, talked to her and cheered her up.
After coming to her grandparents’ home, we met her grandmother. After listening to our explanation about the usefulness of going to study in the city, the girl wanted to go there. However, she also wanted to stay at her hometown because she didn’t want to stay away from her sister and friends. We also faced her grandmother’s disagreement. She didn’t want to let her grandchild go. She said the girl’s grandfather also disagreed. We were very surprised because the girl’s grandfather had a totally different attitude. He was touched to know about our mission.
The girl’s grandmother…
So we tried our best to persuade her. We knew that her family was afraid that we might take her into human trafficking, or take her in a pagoda (there was also another group from the city coming here and making that request), or force her to do very hard work. We tried to help her understand our mission. MC Yen Thao also stood out to convince that the girl would only take time for education whenever she comes to study in the city. The girl’s aunt was working in the city and often watched the show Chao Ngay Moi (Hello Nice Day) so she knew who MC Yen Thao was. After that, we said goodbye to her family, giving them time to think about what to do. Whenever they had decided, they could call us.
It was time to have lunch so we invited the guiding man and asked if the girl could go to have lunch with us. While having lunch together, we talked to the girl to give her support, shared with her our own experiences in life. We also told her that we wanted her to have a wise decision for her future because this opportunity might not come again.
Time always comes and goes in a flash. It was 14:00 that we had to go back to the city. We came to say goodbye to the girl’s grandparents and we all thought that they wouldn’t let her go to the city. Instead of being sad, we all promised to do our best to persuade them…
After that, we went to the main street to catch a coach. It was the time that we really needed a coach to get on but none of them passed by us. We thought how strange it was because while we didn’t need a coach, many of them came to our view. But now, when looking back and seeing how things had happened, we knew that it was in our God’s plan…
While we were waiting for the coach, some local people passed by and talked to us. They became open to us after they knew our mission. We knew that it was too much to handle for the girl to continue living there. Because all the people living there, from the oldest to the youngest, knew what had happened to her. Her grandfather told us that she was still innocent and happy going to school with friends as nothing had happened to her. Her teacher also made a rule that he would minus ten points in personality grade for anyone talked about her accident!
However, as we have seen and felt, that was not how she had been through. Deep inside that innocence as her grandfather described was a complex, suffering and misery that might be with her for the rest of her life. Therefore, we really wanted to take her to the city to stay away from her surrounding world. We hoped that with a new environment in the city, she might get an opportunity to leave all the sufferings behind her and gradually build a brighter future… All we could do was doing our best and let God do the rest.
While we were sharing our thoughts, she ran to us and told us that her grandparents wanted to meet us. Yen Thao and Thanh Linh came home with her. Pham Sy and I stayed there to wait for the coach and wished that the coach was still on its far way to us.
As Saint Paul once said: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow”. The girl’s grandparents were worried at the beginning, but perhaps, they had turned out to convince as Saint Paul did. So they decided to have the older girl go with us to study in the city, and let the younger one stay with them (They couldn’t take care of two kids but one kid might be OK).
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow”.
After that, just the time that a coach passed by that the four of us got on with happiness and joyfulness, just like we had put down a burden. Although we had almost 2 hours to arrive in Sai Gon, we still felt so glad…
The next part was searching for a high school in Sai Gon in which the principle would agree for the girl to continue her education. Jesus Chris, Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, please make it just in your plan.
Oct 20, 2010
Translated by Le Nhat Lam. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Tây Ninh Ký - Tôi Trồng, Apollo Tưới, Nhưng Thiên Chúa Mới Cho Mọc Lên…"