CAMPAIGN AGAINST  CHILD SEX EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017 23:33

Avenues to Love

After many long rainy days in Saigon, came a day of brilliant sunshine. The elementary school kids were off this morning, a Saturday, and they, along with the OBV counselors decided to play outside.

Kids have an amazing ability to play for hours with minimal props, any plan or rules, or cookies and candy. All they needed were rubber bands (to make a long elastic for a skipping game), a few chopsticks and ping pong balls, a handkerchief, and a slipper. They played so passionately, that we as the adults looked on, embarrassed that we didn't know how to contribute to their games. After joking around about it, we decided to just take in their spirit, their childlike joy, naivety and innocence, to create a relaxed atmosphere and help them feel that they are loved unconditionally, and to forget their dark and sorrow filled pasts.

The older sisters volunteered to be team leaders. The game was simple. Two teams competed to 'capture' member of the other team, while the leaders attacked them to rescue those who had been captured. The captured ones were usually the younger girls who couldn't run fast enough. Other girls volunteered to be referees, or divided up the group into teams, and even the youngest girls offered her slipper to use as a flag. Everyone had a role.

The games lasted until everyone was exhausted, and they were rewarded with a basket of yams, shared among the whole family. We, the adults, were all too happy to share in the joy of the children. How long had it been since we last played skip rope, or threw a ball, or chased each other around...probably when we were kids ourselves.

In this environment, I was given a look into a family. The games they played had created some natural happiness, but was also an effective form of therapy, and so, it is one of the best methods to lifting the spirits of children that even our counselors had failed to achieve.

Nov 12, 2016

HM

Translated by Mr. Phung and Jacqueline Huynh.  The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Có Nhiều Cách Để Yêu Thương"

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