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.
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..."
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Every year, Father's day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. We don't know what to say to you to express our love for you. We just want to give you the poem so that you can know how much we love you.
Dad, you're my everything.
Life is still full of problems
Dear Dad, mom, uncles, aunts,
I don't want to leave OBV family but I have to leave because of my family's situation. My mom is too sick to work, my two sisters are too young. I have to come back home to help my mother and take care of my sisters.
Thank you for taking care of me. I wish I could come back with OBV family when my family's situation is better. I know I will be happy when I am here , but my mom and my sisters are miserable and I can't stand it.
I hope that dad, mom, uncles, aunts will understand me. At home I won't be happy as when I'm here but I'm the eldest, I have responsibility for my family.
I love OBV family.
After travelling over 6 hours since midnight, the OBV family met at the planned destination Hon Rom - Phan Thiet. Even though there was a little weary over the long trip, sleep "swaying" on the van, everyone were eager to see the sea, refreshing sea breeze into the dawn. After unloading the luggage into the hotel rooms, everyone rushed out to the sea ....
On summer, when there is no school and the OBV children have time to relax after a stressful semester; Dad, Mom, aunt and uncles make a plan for them to have fun, still don't forget teach them the lessons of life: the value of work, the co-operation in family. And the first lesson they have learnt today is the value of work. They have weaved basket, a work required of patience. Maybe because the majority of them come from poor families, weaving basket seems easy to them. Everyone started to work excitingly. To prepare for this, I had to go to the factory to learn to weave. Then I took the material home and showed them how to weave a complete basket.