Besides just the general task of raising the children, I still had so many things to worry about. For over the month, the condition of our became more and more serious. Watching it degrade in front of our eyes was worrying and depressing. The root of the problems was the leaking roof. Water would leak into the crevices, creating mold, and our second floor could collapse at any time. If that wasn't enough, Vietnam's horrible humidity attracted termites, where they made a huge nest across electrical boxes and cables; and the walls were riddled with cracks.
It was hard to resolve this problem, since all the money raised had to go to the children's education and rehabilitation. However, the safety of the children was now a priority, and it had to be done, especially before the girls started the new school year. It was tough, but I had to do it. I was really hesitant in discussing this problem, but there were many benefactor willing to support OBV. At this stage, our house has be under the remodeling process for over a month, with about a third of the construction completed..
Moving furniture around from room to room as the construction took place was not an easy job. It required all the children, big and small, to help out in any way they could. All the beds, their clothes, their books etc...would be moved from one room so that construction could take place, then once that room was completed, all the things would be moved back. The bigger, heavier cupboards were covered up with big sheets of plastic, and as each room was completed, it had to be swept, washed and cleaned before moving furniture back in. Some rooms were cleaned multiple times, but still, dust remains. It's lucky the children were able to help, being on the summer break and all. From the looks of things, it will take at least another solid month of moving things around, sweeping and cleaning, before we are completed.
Tired, but joyful
The OBV girls were working like ants. Smaller girls would carry small bag, big sisters would carry bigger bags, all singing merrily as they moved from room to room. They were happy be have the house renovated, making it a much safer place for them live. They worried that working and moving things around at my old age would be bad for my health. Their worry made my heart smile.
For the past month, while beds were being moved from room to room and being stacked on top of each other, the girls were sleeping on the floor, wherever they could find space to lay out their mat. When the workers started to work on the dining room and kitchen, the poor kids were forced to stand and eat, but it was just a novelty to them, I dare say they liked in...possibly even preferred it over our traditional way of sitting down together at a table. Meanwhile, I was just wishing for the works to be completed as soon as possible so that the children would have enough time to finish the move one last time, settle in and be ready for the new school year.
A volunteer recently gave me praise: "Taking care of only a couple of children is already such a headache. I admire Sister N for having the patience to raise 30 girls, 2 of which are in college, 2 in kindergarten and the rest in elementary, middle and high school...Not to mention you have to worry about their clothes, shoes, books, pens, and school fees. From Father Martino, to you, to the office staff, all having to work under pressure but still smiling...amazing!"
I smiled quietly to myself. With love we can do anything. With the great love from all those willing to donate, parents, uncles, aunts...
We are grateful to God, and to people who have offered nothing but love and support to the OBV family. We owe you all a big debt of gratitude, a debt of love that we will never be able to pay back.
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original in Vietnamese entitled "Bao Giờ Hết Nỗi Lo"