I am not a professional writer; however, I would like to write something about my trip to Vietnam with Dr. Nga Vu on the occasion of Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong's 10th anniversary of his Priesthood.
Having known Father Martino since 2009, and I have also traveled with them a few times to Vietnam. This time, I departed from Los Angeles and met Father Martino and Dr. Nga in Taipei, and the three of us flied to Vietnam together. As soon as the airplane landed, Nga and I really felt the heat of summer. We were slowly moved through the customs while Father Martino quickly passed through and preceded to the baggage claim area. When we finished with the paper work, Father Martino had gathered all luggages, ready to proceed to the car. Yen-Thao and Hien-Thuc, a famous Vietnamese singer, were waiting outside to welcome us. They took us to the "5 Tháng 2" (February 5) on Võ Văn Tần street, a very beautiful fashion shop located in District 3, and this is also the headquarter of "Nhịp Cầu Hạnh Phúc" (OBV Vietnam). I then went to lunch with Nga and Yen-Thao, stopped by Thiên Ý Spa (one of OBV's businesses) to visit employees there. I was so surprised to see a very modern and high-class spa. I never thought that Father Martino could open these businesses. It was Nga, who spent her own money for OBV to open these shops to create jobs for local people and OBV's children.
Dr. Nga Vu, MD - first chair of the board and biggest supporter of OBV in the last 14+ year - paid a visit to OBV houses and took the children on a beach vacation before she takes on another "vocation!"
Here is her reflection!
May 18 2014
Dear One Body Village
I am writing to thank you for your permission for us to hand out pamphlets about One Body Village and for allowing us to spread your message at our 27th Annual Bike-a-Thon. I believe that we have spread a lot of awareness through this event. On behalf of Vietnamese Student Association at UC Davis and all of our bikers, I thank you for all of the hard work that you have done to save these children's lives.
Kalang Group, with a total of 6 people, came to watch the musical show "The Life I Left Behind " and everyone including myself was all impressed (my Vietnamese name is: Tran Thi Ka - Lang ).
The program was original and well-prepared. The performers did well on what they were supposed to do. It was very enjoyable to watch the harmonious performance from the trio "Ao Trang" and best of all, the perfect performance from pianist Van Anh with some of the famous classical pieces of music.
A very exciting program!
I am Kevin Hoang, Bike-a-Thon Director for Vietnamese Student Association at UC Davis. We will be holding our 27th annual Bike-a-Thon Saturday May 3, 2014. This is to celebrate the large biking community of UC Davis and we would like to donate our funds to One Body Village because we admire and appreciate the work that One Body Village does.
Dear Father Martino,
My name is Truong Minh Bao. I am a single mom of two little children: 2 year old Benjamin and 1 year old Liberty. I thank God to let me know about you through a friend who posted your Youtube channel on Facebook. Since I knew about you and about all the things you have done, I have lived more happily and meaningfully. I thank Grandfather and Grandmother who are of high social class for raising such a man like you, the one that made me cry because of so much admiration. I felt so proud when I heard you said on Youtube that there was a white American got to his feet to greet you.
It's been a long while since I shared with you news about the OBV VN girls' Krav Maga/self defense class.
They've been training with me for the past five months now, and they're at a level of fitness most adults 2x/3x their age have never reached. I gave the older girls their first exam, a grueling two hour marathon that tested their technique, stamina, endurance, and will power.
6/7 of the girls passed. I couldn't be more proud of all of them. In a couple of weeks, they will start learning ground defense.
You want to see what a confident teenage girl looks like? Take a look at them training in my class.
March 23, 2014
November 9, 2013
We were back at the OBV house today.
Thuy resumed her work seeing the girls for individual check-ups and physical exams. I taught two Krav Maga classes today. Shortly after teaching our first class last week, I decided it best to divide the class into two groups based on age (older and younger) to provide a more tailored and personal experience.
Shortly after lunch, we inquired about the handprints on the wall closest to us. We learned that OBV was having each of the girls place a painted handprint on the wall to spell out the letters "OBV."
Like a five-year-old, I blurted out "Aww I want one...," not realizing that OBV actually did want their volunteers to participate, and that they had paint right outside.
Sister Ngoc took me outside to paint my hand. The paint was readily available, as the kids made their own handprints just a few days earlier.
How are you?
I teach 3rd grade at a public school in Texas. The students population at my school is very low, and some students dont care about their education. We have Enrichment Clusters at school, which is a program that teaches students professional careers and allow them to practice it. I've decided my career is making jewelry. I think this will be beneficial to the students if I could connect this with OBV.
I was wondering if I can send the bracelets that our students make to the girls in OBV as encouragement or something beautiful for them to wear. Let me know what you think, if this is possible. i will give you more details as we begin.
Students line up for their first class
Sunday, November 3, 2013
[NOTE: Pictures of OBV girls are taken from the rear so as to protect their identity]
We recently moved into our new place in District 1, a milestone that meant that we were finally ready to get to work. From our first meeting at the One Body Village house we concluded that our Krav Maga classes would be regulated to the weekend so as not to disrupt the girls' academic studies. This past Saturday, the first of November, would be the day when the girls foray into Krav.