When B had gone home for her father's funeral, I came to stay with the OBV children. Though having always been a daily companion, studying and being there to share with their stories, I'd never felt and experienced as much as in these past few days. In those three days, we'd done four things together: eating together, studying together, playing together and sleeping together.
Our daily schedule:
5h30 Getting up – Morning prayers – Doing hygiene routines, playing badminton at church yard, cleaning the church
7h Breakfast and home cleaning
8 h – 9h Homework
9h – 10 h Doing embroidery while listening to church songs, or the Gospel in Khmer
10h – 11 h Cooking and having lunch
12 h – 17 h Three children studied Khmer language, I was teaching Vietnamese and learning Khmer.
17h – 18h Joining the parishioners in prayers time at the church
18h Having dinner with them
18h30- 20h I taught Vietnamese to them and 20 others in the parish (either teaching or studying Bible if it was Tuesday or Saturday nights)
20h 15- 21h Watching TV with them
21h Praying before bed
There were three new girls in the home; two of them were not Catholic, and so, prayer time was rather optional to the non-Catholic ones. But, it seemed that whenever I started praying with the others, these two kiddos would come join and whisper to me "Can we join you?"
I was overjoyed at the sight of the children gladly and willfully coming together in prayers, hymns singing and gospel sharing. On my third day there, when all four of us spent the night watching TV, with three lying on the floor and I sitting, Y said "Tr, can I change with your spot of the floor?" With their close sisterhood, Tr took no time to change her spot with Y, who was then lying placing her head close to my leg with both of her arms around it. I was taken back and somewhat puzzled, but Y told me she would hold her dad's leg when she slept. As I could see the meaning of Y's behaviors, I had felt more love for her that it prompted me to hold her so tightly in my arms hoping in my embrace Y would feel soothed for the holes and lacks in her life.
I was amazed by their pure innocence. But I wondered, searching in all of my understanding, how it did happen that someone sold them off to be on the same path where their mothers once were on.
Please join us in our efforts to bring a better future to such unfortunate lives as that of Y.
Nguyễn Trắc Ẩn
Nov 15, 2012
Translated by Loan Nguyen. Original version in Vietnam entitled "Đổi Chỗ"