Yesterday, the Mission Trippers journeyed by bus from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to Vietnam, the last stop of a journey to understand the work that OBV does across 3 countries in South East Asia.
Today, the group arrived at OBV Vietnam, just in time for tomorrow's party to celebrate a belated Christmas, Lunar New Year, and the birthday of OBV's founder -- Father Martino. It will also be an opportunity to give thanks and gratitude to the OBV staff, supporters and collaborators who have worked with OBV over the last year.
Yesterday was quite a busy day for the Mission Trippers.
In the morning, they headed out to buy food to prepare all the meals for the day.
Their first meal was a delicious pasta dish, which the children devoured in minutes.
While the kids napped after their huge lunch, the group headed off to Bloom, an organization with under-aged victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking are trained to work in bakeries.
On the 12th of January, in the still of the night and long after all younger girls were in a deep sleep, the older girls of OBV took a trip to Nguyen Hue street to meet up with the volunteers on the Mission Trip. The OBV team along with their collaborators, were ready for their Night Flight -- an event organized to share gifts with the homeless in Saigon.
The first stop was Saigon Notre Dame church, where the group gathered to pray for a smooth and peaceful night.
Roaming through Districts 1, 3, 5, 6 and 11, the group handed out a total of 254 gifts to those less fortunate than them.
They arrived home as the dawn was breaking. The children had experienced something new, teaching them to always appreciate what they had available to them, including a warm bed to sleep in under the cozy roof of OBV.
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Mission Trip 2018 (Day 6) Bay Đêm Sài Gòn"
OBV has just completed the schedule for the annual Mission Trip, giving volunteers from other countries an opportunity to learn and experience the activities of OBV in Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
For 10 to 12 days of the Mission Trip, they will live, work, and participate in volunteer activities in areas where children are sold, such as the Children's Detention Center for victims of child sexual exploitation.
The volunteers will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The first day, they will make their way to the Children's Detention Centre, housing child victims of human trafficking (sex trafficking, larbor trafficking, organ harvesting).
The representatives of OBV in Malaysia visit the children weekly, providing medication and food for the children and help them with paper work for repatriation to their respective countries. For those returning to Vietnam, OBV then assists them with rehabilitation and to obtain a job so that they can integrate back into society.
After leaving the detention centre, the mission trip group will visit the Women's Detention Centre, and the jewelry factory reserved for the survivors (so called to respect/honor the aspirations of life of the victims of sexual abuse.)
The group will then continue the trip to Cambodia, and Vietnam to visit the children of OBV in these countries.
OBV News January 3rd, 2018
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "OBV Mission Trip 2018"
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.
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.
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.