The life is marked by different periods as well as the school life. It's happy for those who are lucky enough to be able to go to school, and they will never forget their school lives. The heat of summer, the sounds of cicadas, the color of Flamboyant flowers make everyone's heart flutters. It's time to relax after a stressful school year, but with you, students in ninth grade, summer means saying good bye, starting a new stage and marking a new step of maturity and turning 15 years old, the year of dreams and the open skies.
A paradox, but the truth is often unexpected
I knew there was something wrong from the moment the little girl set foot into the OBV home. It would have been fine if she was shy or scared because of being in a new environment, but she kept on smiling to and laughing with everyone, and even ran around the house with some older children, as if she was the host herself.
From June 7 to 9, in tenth year ordination anniversary, Dad Thong organized a field trip to Hon Rom beach for Vietnam and Cambodia OBV children. Particularly in this trip, a special guest, Mom Nga, was present. Being a physician, she had anonymous donated most of the income earnings to support the children financially for all past years.
The heartbeat of the children in Cambodia rushed down and up constantly when preparing for the journey. Although applying for the passports three months ago, there were hassles in processing the legal documents. Even in last couple of days before the journey, the official said: "Not done yet, with reason: government violence." The OBV members searched another alternative path to get the legal passports so all children could participate in this meaningful trip. The documents weren't done until Thursday night before the Saturday - which was the day to leave for the field trip.
The Cambodia OBV children are arriving in Vietnam
The Cambodia OBV children visited the OBV "Feb 5th" store, while waiting for the bus to bring them to OBV Vietnam house
That was the desire of father Thong: what can we do for the OBV children to have the best learning environment, especially for the subject of English?
The children have studied English at school for some time, but there were some children unable to study at school because:
Hastily roaming in a familiar Honda, I went to find you. Information about you was quite vague; I knew that you were in that area, on that road, but that road was too long. I had been going back and forth—I did not know how many times—to observe each house. The houses were very close together, the long alleys winding. Oh, how did I know where to find you when my strength was limited!
Actually, visiting families and searching young ladies who needed help were not my jobs, but I still wanted to go this trip. This trip was prepared well to get two things done. First, specialists took care training and had speeches at a middle school near the bottom of Sam Mountain (Chau Doc-An Giang-Vietnam). Second, two directors and I went to T's house according to K's direction.
The rental room where the girl is living.
The morning phone call was to inquire the situation, the rumor was that the girl had not worked last few days. Found out that she had the fever and was home alone. There were two siblings in the house, the brother was working far from home, would not be home for several months. In Saigon, weather was muggy, hot. Occasionally, it rained but did not relieve the heat wave in this season. She was street peddler selling lottery tickets during the rain so she got sick. It caught attention of two volunteers so they decided to visit her and see where she is residing.
Getting familiar and playing with the children of OBV Vietnam happened quite often because the location is rather close, but with the children of OBV Cambodia, it is a bit difficult. Thus, not until May 2014 did I have the opportunity to go visit Cambodia and get in touch with the children.
Because I had never got in touch with the children yet, and had certain obstacles in language, I was very worried when preparing the manners lessons for them. As soon as I walked to the entrance, the children inside the house saw, went outside and opened the gate, and greeted me loud-and-clear. While lounging around and making their acquaintance, and during meals, the children even knew to say thanks when there was someone getting them something, and sorry when necessary. Oh, they already have these very good skills.
Nobody in the world has been as kind to me as my mother. Nobody in the world is as supporting to me as my father.
Today is Mother's Day. I received a bouquet of flowers and my children's best wishes. There's also a cake made first-time by one of my children. The surprise gave me more happiness.
In the first visit, the OBV children has quickly acquainted with Ms. Quynh Anh through the activities after dinner evening.
According to monthly schedule, the psychologist of One Body Village Organization would come to interact in the activities, communicate and share with the children at the OBV house in Cambodia. For the first time in month of May, the OBV children in Cambodia met the psychologist of the organization - Ms. Anh Quynh Ngo.
The first day we met her was 1 month ago. A skinny dark tanned girl in the past is "light tanned" today and had gained some weight. When she met us, she held our hands and laughed gurly. The intimacy and trust to the people she just met several times let us feel that she was already a member of the OBV family.
I have experienced different emotions deep in my heart every time I come to the OBV home.
After an hour riding like a bat out of hell on the streets of Saigon which sparkle in the sunlight, I finally get to the OBV home today at 12:00 PM. My fatigue caused by the hot weather disappears the minute I see the small house of the OBV family. As usual, I feel no more tired when looking at the innocent smiles of the children and hearing the joyful greetings of the kids: "Here you are, uncle! Why haven't you visited us lately?" My heart is invaded by an immense happiness that wipes away any worries or sadness. But today I have one more reason to feel so happy visiting the OBV home: I am starving! It's now lunch time and I should be invited to lunch.
Meeting up and persuading the child's family at the news-provider's house
She doesn't know how many siblings she has, how their faces are and whether they are fine. Because poverty follows, dad is an alcoholic and gambler and mom is a hired labor; except for the middle brother and the baby sister, the others were sold after being born. $900 USD, $100 USD was the price of each transaction – the next three siblings were sold with the price which was high compared to the living standard in Cambodia. However poverty is still poverty. The baby sister who has just been born is taken cared by her grandparents because they are afraid that their grandchild will be sold then. The grandparents have an unsettled life so the young little girl couldn't go to school and had to live lonely in the forest. Is this called "good luck?"
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.