It was my second time to participate in the annual Mission Trip, and this time the children of OBV Vietnam were a lot more friendly towards me than my previous trip exactly a year earlier. Since the age difference between them and myself was not big, we could relate with each other on a lot of things, and we became closer. They felt comfortable to play and tease me.
This second visit took place right after their Lunar New Year holiday, and they had just gone back to school for the new semester. Probably because they hadn't seen each other throughout the break, they were highly excited to see each other again, chirping and chatting non-stop throughout lunch. Every time I've been with them, I've immediately felt at home when I see how much they care for each other. The older girls looked after the younger girls, the younger girls looked up to their elder sisters.
an old article...
It's been a long time since I had a Saturday morning at home alone, a calm and peaceful time. I opened the window to let the fresh air rush in, turning my face to enjoy the stimulating feeling of a crisp cold morning. In the distance, autumn has already started to color the row of trees with its different shades, from gentle to brilliant, glorious yet dreamy, forming a lovely and melancholic scenery.
How many plans do I have for this morning? First of all, I need to save some time for myself and my family. Sewing some warm house clothes for mom? Or making bún bò Huế, dad's favorite dish, and inviting him over? Or maybe being home today is my chance to teach my 11 year old boy how to cook, clean, and do laundry, because he still hasn't learned to do any housework, big as he is, and if I do not teach him now to be useful to others, it'll be too late later.
an old article...
The church bell rang (the alarm bell was set as the church bell sound). I got up but my mind was still confused. We would have priest Thong come to Minnesota and talk about human trafficking which sends Vietnamese children into sex slavery in Cambodia.
When I came into the bathroom, Ai Huu was making up, getting ready for the Mass in the morning.
Both of us came into Church of St. Alphonsus for the Mass on 7:00 A.M. We stood on our knees and prayed. I wondered what Ai Huu was talking to God and Mother Mary. I was thinking of Priest Thong's talk in the evening, wondering if it would be successful. Only 169 tickets were sold. Worrying, I tried to concentrate to pray. I talked to Mother Mary and God, begged them to help us celebrate a successful event. I didn't forget to pray with the Holy Spirit to be with us in our work for the best results.
an old article...
Pharmacist, MC, Singer – three works combine in one girl named Huyen Ny – a talented, beautiful Vietnamese girl. She is a representative for successful Vietnamese women living overseas.
When attending the fundraising event held by One Body Village at Seattle, she decided to be a voice for OBV's children, those who are the victims of child sex exploitation and traffickingin order to make OBV more well-known.
Let us share with you Huyen Ny's thoughts:
The program began just before sunset
The "Trả Em Tuổi Thơ" gala in Melbourne in the presence of 750 participants from the Vietnamese community. The large turnout was the result of the Vietnamese patriots in Melbourne to lend OBV a hand to help children who are victims of sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia - especially Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Singapore.
This is the largest fundraising event to date that even the event organizers were also surprised and touched.
(OBV - Ms Anne Doan and the two men who organized the fundraising for OBV in Brisbane, Australia are Buddhist! Thanks God and Thanks the three of you)
1 am ... 11/16/14 after finishing the evening fundraising for OneBodyVillage, we returned home and listened to Father Nguyen Ba Thong shared about the OBV children's lives. Although everyone was very tired due to lack of sleep and meal for the past few days busy running the fundraising... But everyone tried to fight off the urge to fall asleep and kept listening to the tragic stories of the unfortunate OBV children ....
With bags in on both shoulders, bags in both hands, walking barefoot in the streets....he looked like a begger.
During an evening trip on January 12th 2010, I encountered a lady – originally from Phan Rang – who left for Saigon in hopes of finding a job. She asked me for some clothes for her child to have for Tết (the Lunar New Year). I happy agreed and promised her that I would deliver the clothes to her on the evening of January 14th.
After departing ways, I felt a sort of happiness and silliness in me. A smile was on my face when I arrived home. "I haven't experienced a day as beautiful as that day..."
That's right, I haven't experienced a day as beautiful as thay day. I had yet to experience or take part in any tasks that are meaningful or fun and exciting....until that day. I kept smiling and laughing like a crazy person.
Yesterday was my last day with OBV. On my journey, I met people with big hearts, bright minds, and unique talents who have changed the lives of entire communities. I believe that crimes against children are the most heinous and that poverty, corruption, greed, and complacency are to blame. Shame on the men and women who exploit children, sell children, buy children, and commit unspeakable acts against children. The most frightening thing I learned this trip was the extreme ease of purchasing children. The realisation of how disposable they are haunts me everyday. I want to solve the problem but there has yet to be a solution. That's not to say that all hope is lost. If you could see the children we saved, their spirits, their smiles, and the unforgettable twinkle in their eyes, you would agree that this fight is worth it. Even one life is worth it. (Angela Nguyen)
Our mission group spent the morning assisting Cha Thanh to distribute rice and warm jackets to 2 rural schools in Lao Cai today. Their families are extremely poor. Their education is supported by Cha Thanh's parish. Amazing! (Angela)
I left Malaysia with mixed emotions, but mostly of sadness and sorrow. I'm overwhelmed by the tragedy that these women and children have suffered through and feel even more anguish to think of the uncertainty of time that they now face to return home. Where there is evil, there are good people like our OBV agent named T. who goes beyond her call of duty to help not only our children, but all of the trafficking victims that she encounters. She translates for them, advocates for them, cooks for them, visits them in hospital, and she even buries them when these women and children just can't fight any longer. She's a true champion and my inspiration.
I visited a trafficking victim at a local hospital today in Kuala Lumpur. She was 29 years old and she was lured to Malaysia from Vietnam with promise of good work. She was previously trafficked to Russia in 2012, but because she needed to provide for her parents and 2 young children, she accepted the risk. For 2 years she served men. She's been beaten and battered. At times she would be locked in a room for 30 men to rape her throughout the day. 4 months ago, she collapsed. She was in a coma for a week and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Today, she was all but skin and bones and weighed a mere 33 kg. Though she didn't fully understand her condition, she was eager and hopeful to return to Vietnam to be with her family when she recovered. From her, I learned what loneliness and suffering truly is and the value of hope. The sparkle in her eye when we offered her good company, no matter how short of a time, will remain with me.
Sometimes I forget "human trafficking" doesn't just mean minors who are being moved around the world for sexual purposes.
The human trafficking industry is a $150 billion dollar industry and covers sex worker, domestic workers, laborers and (probably most horrifying) the harvesting of organs.
Yesterday we met 2 babies. I could physically feel my heart break at the thought of these two babies (a 4 month old boy, an 18-month old girl) being born solely for the purpose of having their organs taken. In fact, the baby boy had already been "booked" for his organs while his mother (a 17 year old survivor of sex trafficking) was pregnant with him. Many of us held back tears as we struggled to understand what these kids had gone through...what would cause a person to be ok with doing this to anyone else, let alone a child.
Today we met a group of women, survivors of trafficking (both sexual and domestic workers). Most were from Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. All were rescued from their deplorable 'work' environments, and are waiting for the right paperwork to go through to go home.
With the upcoming Lunar New Year, we thought lighting fire crackers and making paper lanterns would be fun for them, however this only reminded them of home, and a few of the survivors broke down in tears.
One Body Village is extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with NGO Suka, who have taught us that trafficking is a deep issue that affects the whole world, with a lot of it happening underneath our noses.
As I finish up this mission, I can only hope that we as humans can step up together to put a stop to the abuse of children, the trafficking of our fellow humans, and prove humanity is better than this.
Terima kasih Suka, sampai jumpa lagi
Today, we visited the women's protective shelter again to cook Pho for lunch. The Vietnamese women were so delighted, because they haven't tasted familiar flavours in months! While the others cooked, I gave an informal education session about hygiene and basic first aid. I knew it was successful because the women gave me all of their attention and kept asking questions. They were so grateful that I answered concerns about their health and I that discussed what was normal, what they should keep an eye on, and what needed medical attention. I wish I could do this everyday! Today, the women seemed more relaxed, at ease, and lowered their guard. They are beyond jaded because they have been deceived and abused. I am so happy that in a short two days, we have developed friendship and trust. I hope that they will make it home to their families soon. Thank you to organisations like Suka who support these women on a daily basis.