The two girls, their grandparents and mother.
Dear Readers! I am glad to be able to write this article about my first task since joining OBV, namely to take care of two girls. They are sisters, both very cute and lovable. The fatherless house – due to the parents' divorce – consisted of a mother and her two daughters. While the father left to live with another woman, the girls lived with the mother, who was always drunk and shouting profanities, known in the neighborhood for wandering off on the streets and regularly beating the children.
The teacher and all the kids in elementary
So gone are those hot, humid sweltering summer days with continuous rain in July. There was a time for beginning and also time for an end, as we reached the end of our English semester. Today is the day of our farewell party with our beloved teacher Ms. Diem Van – a volunteer who came all the way from the U.S to help teach us English.
She came and stay with us at the beginning of June. The initial moment of surprise and shyness quickly went away because your teacher is a young lady who quickly blended in and adapted with the group easily. The class were divided into two, the older kids study on the odd days while the younger kids study on the even days.
Choked by emotions, Loan could not continue. Thu joined her friend's tears. The two embraced each other and wept bitterly. Their sorrows embarrassed and he chastised his thoughtless comment.
If the girls quit what they were doing, how will they live? Absorbed by his thought, Tuan suddenly hatched an idea. Why don't I take the girls back to the refugee camp? The camp will provide for their physical needs, while offering a chance for the girls to connect with other decent people. Delighted by this conclusion, Tuan suggested:
- Why don't you come to the refugee camp with me?
- I mean if you don't mind, sir, I would like to hear your story
Tuan wiped away his tears and related:
- My story... well it's really not worth mentioning. I've been volunteering at a Vietnamese refugee camp near here. Oh! Come to think of it, you've never told me your name. My name is Tuan, and yours?
- Thu, my name is Thu.
You are a kind, beautiful girl with a nice warm smile that will light up any room you walk into.....But many years ago, there was no smile on your face. Life was so cruel when it took your own mother away and leaving you behind all alone in this cruel world. You lived in a house with 4 men, they are heartless and barbaric men, who abused you and took advantage of you, didn't matter if you are a stranger or family member.
You came to OBV when you were almost 16 with an immense pain that no words can describe. Because you are too kind hearted, you seemed gullible, naïve and weak but just because you were merely looking for some understanding, some protection and some tender loving care from the people that you know as well as strangers.
We always organize a birthday celebration every three months for the children whose birthdays fall within those months. This time, the party was for three girls. Just a simple cake and a little "special something" were enough to make them happy. That day, the House Assistant cooked a pot of bún bò (beef vermicelli soup) to eat with the whole family. This birthday was also attended by two older sisters, who had already started working. With the money earned by themselves, they bought the cake for their younger sisters. Mother and the other aunts were glad to see them so grown up and taking care of the younger ones.
Mother and the girls with the candle-lit cake.
It was a memorable day for the children of OBV who have been blessed with the gift of receiving their Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Regeneration. It was extra special for a fellow child, C, who's birthday also fell on that day. It was nothing but smiles all around for, C, who was very lively and beautiful. In addition, an important person - Mother N. has gifted C a birthday cake with C's name written on top and a number '14' candle.
C happily admiring her cake
First Story: She is jealous!
Considered to be the youngest in the family, CL has been more cherished than her older sisters. When T. joined in, the first thing CL did was asking the new comer's date of birth. Knowing that T. is younger, CL was so nervous that she secretly examined how Mom, the aunties and the uncles treated the new comer. CL even stayed up all night, walking back and forth outside the bedrooms. She said she wanted to know whether mom, the aunties and the uncles talked to T. "I don't want mommy to comb T's hair and aunties to hold her hands, etc..."
On Sunday, the 13th of July 2014, six children from OBV Cambodia received the sacrament of Baptism at Saint Joseph Church in Pnom Penh, Cambodia. Since they had wanted to be baptized for a long time now, the girls attended the religious classes regularly and whole-heartedly. But, while making a list of those who would be baptized, none of them could fulfill the necessary legal conditions. The ones who had Christian parents did not keep their faith, and for the ones with Buddhist parents, a longer test phase was needed (usually until the age of eighteen). Father Bruno, the pastor of the community there, is a French priest, who is strict about keeping faith. That is why he had to think over the OBV children's cases thoroughly.
Father Bruno and children of OBV house.
Summer comes, the children in OBV Vietnam can leave school works aside to participate in Summer activities.
They are taught English by Miss Diễm Vân who is a volunteered teacher coming from the USA. She works very hard in dividing class into different levels to correctly match with the children's ages and their comprehension.
The English teacher and children are meeting for introduction