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
On the occasion of return of Dad Thong celebrating the 10th anniversary of his ordination, Dad and the OBV (One Body Village) family had a vacation trip exciting, interesting and meaningful. The OBV family had secretly prepared a surprise gift for Dad and Aunt the past month. Therefore, the musical show was extravaganza taken place in the night.
Thu took the cigarette from the stranger and lit it. As she exhaled the smoke, she thought of what to say. Although the stranger did not seem interested, she was not discouraged. After all, she was accustomed to this at a young age.
Thu has met so many different people, but they were all similar. Those who uses their money to buy pleasure does not need to be polite to prostitues like Thu. Had they pitied children like her, they would not have come to places like these. Instead, they all came to purchase an evening of pleasure, to enjoy the bodies of unfortunate children no older than their own. There was no humanity, no dignity to speak of. In her eyes, all men were animals without a drop of decency. She didn't expect any courtesy, just money for food. That's all.
Dad! Where are you.... Mom! Where are you...
At nightfall, the street is transformed into an exciting and bustling scene. Many three-wheeled bikes, locally called tuktuk, lined the streets leading to TaMun Park. Along the roadside lie many bars and cafés, filled with the greetings of waitresses as they entertain their guests. Under the golden glow of the streetlamps, hordes of people from all over the world have gathered to enjoy the revelry. The street, an entire kilometer long, had every form of vice imaginable to experience; from drugs, to alcohol, to gambling, it offered any and all kinds of entertainment. However, the main attraction for many men who have came here was to engage the pleasures of the body, especially with underage children (including adolescents who were merely eight or nine years old), found virtually nowhere else in the world except... Cambodia.
- Hey! You... You... want go... Go...
Although Mother's Day had passed, in this article, I would like to talk about the combined sacrifice that Mom (Momma Nga) and Dad had for the children.
Momma Nga and Dad took photos as souvenirs with the OBV children.
The third Sunday of June was Father's Day. This year was a rarity because this time, Momma Nga and Dad were present in Vietnam; specifically, they came on this day to visit and to say goodbye to the children, and apparently, they wanted time to flow backwards so that they could be with the children longer.
Managing Sister and the children of OBV VN celebrate Father's Day
Dear Father, on this Sunday we celebrate all our fathers, for we know that our fathers are most deserving of this honor and respect.
Although you did not bring us into this world and nurtured us, we know that you have made many sacrifices and care deeply for all of us; you have extended your arms widely to envelop and embrace us into your heart. Father, we know that you work tirelessly day and night; when we hear that you barely sleep – at times merely resting yours eyes for a couple of hours at night – our hearts cannot help but ache for you!
Their innocent smiles when wearing new dresses
A five-year-old little girl lives with her father who works as a mechanic. Her parents had separated when she was one. Her mother could no longer endure her father's drunkenness and gambling habit so she left to go back to her village carrying with her an unborn child in her womb. Her mother works as a hired hand here and there scraping enough to support herself day by day as she lives in humiliation. As for the little girl, she lives with her father in a dilapidated and unfurnished rental unit. Her means of support is dependent on what her father brings home on that day from inflating and patching up tires for customers in the area. The little girl is five, but she doesn't get to go to school. She doesn't know any children songs or rhymes, nor does she have any toy. On a daily basis, she hangs around her father's auto shop; her toy is a rock or whatever else she might pick up.