Photo of the girl at district police station to report, I secretly photographed as it seemed she always bows her head
When I met her, her trembling fear of strangers kept my thinking that the incident just happened yesterday, but the fact was 7 months elapsed since the heartbreaking incident.
Her family was poorest in the province, maternal mother had blood cancer, skinny drudging figure, her father had congenital heart disease, traumatic seizure anytime. Source of family income is the 1967 old motorcycle, driving the customers to support the whole family, more hungry days than full-meal days.
H. is her name, she is 7 years old, hasn't had a day at school yet, hang around her grandfather's house all day when her parents are working all day long, the whole week. Doing the labor job is not earning much. In the season, there is some work to earn some money, otherwise .....
Following an OBV volunteer in a remote province, I came visit and found out the little girl's status in the summer hot midday of the South. Walking over 1 kilometer to the destination, we had to park the car on the edge because of the narrow road. My whole body was sweating in hot humid summer day. When I just saw her, my whole body felt numb. How such heartless and barbaric man exists. He didn't even spare a very tiny girl weigh only 14 kg.
Dad! Where are you? Mom! Where are you?
The children were neglected when their parents divorced, the mother moved to live with her new husband, and the father went missing with his mistress. Three siblings lived like homeless, not a caregiver, not a daily meal, they took care of themselves.
Every day the children went begging for food or "had a meal" at the benefactor's family, they took showers when it was raining and hugged each other in bedtime until their clothes dried. They hang on to live as such from day to day.
I met you 4 years ago. You were the first child I met and brought back to One Body Village when I started the work of searching and rescuing victims of slavery and sexual abused. I still remember vividly that first time. We came from far away to the cold desolated house with only 2 sisters were living and taking care of each other. The older sister, you, was only 15 years old. I still remember the suspicious looks from the loved ones in the family and the detractors of the neighbors' pity when asked about you.
Mother Ngoc is talking with the children, new members of the OBV family
Yesterday was the past, a traumatic past.
• A little girl lived in the West of the country. After she was sexually abused by a local man and the incident was discovered and prosecuted, her whole family had been living in fear. Rocks were often thrown at the house, all bred fishes in the pond were dead after a few hours away. The family was always in watchout and ready to make emergency exit out of the house for fear of house being burned. The girl had to take leave of absence from the school because of getting beat on the way to school and intimidations.
Ms Ngoc Phuong is now the manager of OBV Cambodia. Bellow is her sharing on Christmas Eve with OBV children
There was no need to sit beside fireplace, no need to bring many clothes, no need to wear beanie...
However, this Christmas I feft even warmer. Sitting beside me were children, they also felt the same with me: different from previous Chrismas
I missed all my friends and relatives...
OBV family is celebrating Christmas
Sunday: The first day of a week, the day that children were waiting for as they could rest and play
According to our program, tonight Sunday, December 12th, we took children to watch performances at church. We walked around to see rock shelter in the parish. Our children were prior to seat in front where was only for Priest and Seour. During the performances, when every performance ended, priest looked at our children and clapped his hands proudly, people in the church were watching, but only Priest clapped most loudly, clap even the performance was good or not, he gave soft drink to them and said "Drink to have energy to clap your hands". M found him happy and cheerful; she touched him and sang "I ask u why you became a Priest?" He could not answer, Mother N helped. He said: I know, this song is Father Thong's, right? It turned out that he knew Father Thong! He also said: When our Parish has performances, Seour will let you perform some, OK!!! After the performances, we walked back, two youngest children felt weary in their legs, so her sisters carry on their backs. What a happy day.
OBV staff in Cambodia is driving the children around in new Tuktuk.
For the necessities are needed such as children go to Mass, attending the weekly Bible school, especially in the rainy season which is heavily raining all day long, they also have to go to school, the OBV organization in Cambodia has just bought a Tuktuk.
OBV jus received a child through the introduction of Archdiocese Caritas Saigon.
When we talked with her mom, we got to know that her family situation was so tragical that the mom had intended to apostatize as the Cross God gave her was too heavy. She prayed to Mother Mary, if Mother Mary hadn't helped, she would apostatize and send her daughter to a house in a pagoda. Luckily, as Mr Huynh Truong, her catechist, knowing her situation, came to Caritas office to ask for help.
Children of OBV Cambodia
There was nothing new or special happened to our lives. However, I felt one thing and consider it as a grace of Mekong Mother. It was children who visit Mother after finishing school. I think Mother may feel touched when she sees her little children visit her everyday, so she gives grace for our family: all of the kids want to stay here. Ngoc Yen said: "I feel sorry for sister N.B, don't know how she is doing now."
With Mother's grace, we all feel warm in our famiy. We all pray and thank Mother everyday.
Translated by Tram Dang . Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Nhờ Ơn Mẹ Mêkông"