For this beautiful Sunday: After the rock ‘n roll night..... For the morning, chu Thong has given me the opportunity to assist his interview for the position of "Director of OBV for Viet Nam", and the afternoon will be the 2nd presentation "Tinh bo vo" of chu Thong @ GX Tong Viet Buong. I guesstoday is the day which we have the least number of activities, but that doesn't mean that it will be easier or an opportunity to relax. Hummm...I feel like there will not be a lot of stuffs to write about ... hahahah ... well...let's see !!!
Journal of mission trip in VN - Summer 2010
(by Huynh Ngoc Tri / v1.4)
Today gonna be a “fully-loaded” day. We will visit Bến Tre the whole day and at night chú Thông will deliver his brand-new discussion “Tình Bơ Vơ” at Cho Cau.
- The main course of this morning is coffee shops @ Quan Sao + Windows 4. Why at these places ??
The goal was to spot "working-girls". Yes...I'm serious, that was chu Thong's assignement for me and Hoa. I was excited. Chu Thong's works turn around this world: wanna get in, got know the doors, thatz all. Maybe you, the readers, are shocked, but well, if you are on this webpage, you know chu Thong's work. If you are still in shock...well you may leave...
The main course of this day of May is a "handwork" session @ Xuan Loc, childhood home town of chu Thong. The team : chu Thong, chu Thong's aunt, Khoa, Liem, Tu (4), Duc, Hoa and mini-self-of-me.
This was my first trip to Cambodia where you can find thousands of children who are sold and brought here to become sex slaves. We go as a group of 6 people: Father Martino, 2 young brother and sister who are Cambodian but live in Vietnam, a singer, an electrical engineer, and me. The goal of the trip is to learn about Cambodia in person. The bus departed at 7:00 am from Saigon to Phnom Penh. Right after going across the border gate of Moc Bai, there are around 10 fancy casinos popping up from nowhere. Continuing with the next couple miles, there are few houses and restaurants for travelers to stop by and eat. The more you go away the border, the further houses are far away from each other. Houses are built right off the high way, nothing behind them but wild fields. This proves that those casinos are not for local people, but actually for rich people from Vietnam. The simple reason is that gambling is prohibited by Vietnam Law.
Journal of mission trip in VN - Summer 2010
(by Huynh Ngoc Tri / 26052010 v1.0)
The program of the morning is "Approaching skills". This reminds me of "Spy Game", one of my favorite spy-counter-intelligence movies, with 2 lady-heartbreakers of Hollywood, Robert Redford and Brad Pitts. The test subjects are students of Dai Hoc Nhan Van (Humainites University and the majority is obviously female). The goal is getting along and learning about the normal lives of university students in Saigon.
Hoa and me, will be playing the role of 2 young columnists, researchers from abroad, writing about the difference of "nuoc mam" (vietnamese) students in Vietnam and elsewhere. We are endorsed by our supervisor, the super handsome young rich and famous chu Thong.
Words from Fr. Martino (Chú Thông) - These writtings are from the Participants and posted UN-editied as I allow their feelings flow! This one is written by Tri - a Electrical Engineering from Canada!
- I met the welcoming team at the airport: Thao (chu Thong's niece), a PhD of education, a policeman, Thanh, Tram and Hoa. "Chu Thong" arrived at Tan Son Nhat around 10:45pm. We stopped by the hotel, the Thanh Long Tan Hotel, near cho*. Ben Thanh. Below are the few things we did right after his landing. We spent most of the time outside, around the area to learn about the "characteristics" of the corner:
- "An khuya", late supper, at a Singapore restaurent, The Lion... The food: "chao ech", frog porride, not bad at all. The place is pretty clean, the interior design is simple, good taste, the assembly is okido.
After the late supper, chu Thong decide to "drive" Hoa and me around the corner to learn about the strategic environment of the hotel.
An end of the year luncheon. I was excited to see the girls again, in their own home: their own element. These four girls had been rescued from being sexually exploited, and are now living in a One Body Village home. Here they learn to live together as a family, sharing responsibilities, and also to become educated. After the trip to Vũng Tầu, we were invited over for lunch to celebrate the end of the year and the coming of the next.
The tree branches sway as a gust of sea wind hits them. The skies are murky and gray, not the best day to head to the beach. It’s about 7:30 AM and I am sitting at a table having breakfast with two very special people. I glance up, and see them looking out the window, most likely wishing and praying for sunnier weather so that we can go for a swim. I sit a moment, taking the scene in, and wonder what the future holds for these young girls. There’s no doubt in my mind that they have seen more than their fair share of gray skies and a tumultuous past.
They have lived most of their young lives forgotten, and forced to do the unspeakable. Lost and abandoned by friends and family, these girls were physically and sexually abused… forced into sex slavery. Rescued from the streets, they are currently living in a One Body Village home where they go to school, learn to share family responsibilities, and live with great role models and teachers. Now, they pray and have hope for not just sunnier skies, but a brighter future.
It was 1 AM in Saigon when I began to gather my thoughts and experiences about the Vung Tau Trip in Viet Nam. This trip allowed me to spent time with the kids and got to know the children as we stayed 2 days and 1 night together. I learned that these four girls had been abandoned by their family members emotionally and financially. They were stranded and homeless for days even though they were only adolescents. They were raped and abused while living on the streets. One Body Village Organization took these girls off the streets and had been given them a home. In the home, these girls had schedules to follow throughout the day. They got to go to school for the general education and hand-on experience with the career that fits their talents. They also learned how to cook and clean up together as a team. These children have been fighting for the bright future even with all the obstacles ahead of them.
While on the road, the girls were singing happily and loudly in the car. It was raining when we got to Vung Tau. Regardless of the gloomy weather, we had the best time ever! We put on our bathing suits and swam in the water as if the day was sunny. We were splashing water at each other and singing songs. It was joyful to see the children laughing and enjoying themselves in the water. After swimming, we went to a nearby restaurant to eat seafood. Everyone was exhausted and slept through the whole way home, except for the driver
Even though these children have the long journey ahead of them, I am glad to be part of their lives for two days. I'm proud of them for having the courage to change their lives from the past. I feel that these children are no longer lost but found. They have a family where they belong. They have the tools to accomplish their dreams. Most importantly, they have the support to be a better person for society. With continual love and motivation from One Body Village, the future for these kids can only get brighter.
Yesterday was the first time I accompanied Father Thong in night "flight" to distribute gifts to street old people. And that night "flight" was successfully organized with love and left everyone's heart warmth.
We gathered at Cathedral Church waiting for Father Thong, and then we were assigned routes. Let's depart!
Journal – first day in Viet Nam!
I'm very joyful for today. I landed in Viet Nam around midnight last night. Tossing and turning all night for I couldn't sleep. 3 am, I wandered around the Ben Thanh plaza and met a man selling corn on the cob from Thai Binh. We shared a conversation about his hometown and family for almost two hours. I ate three corns. He charged me nine thousands in Viet Nam dong (about 50 cents in US dollar). I felt guilty for taking so much of his time. I offered him another 50 thousands in Viet Nam dong. He refused, indicating that he wouldn't be able to sell anything at this hour anyway, and he's delighted with our conversation for it shed him some warmth. But I insisted, for his kids. He accepted with much gratitude. He said, "I came into the South selling corn for 10 years now, and just today there is someone willingly join me for a small talk and even give me money." I was not sure how grateful he was, but I felt much joy. Thank you my brother, and thanks be to God.