Christmas Celebration by the children of the Go Vap Orphanage (Saigon, Viet Nam), December 2009:
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Ready to party?
The staff and some of the older orphans worked hard all day yesterday and today to prepare for the Christmas party.
The Santa team: Amy (Brisbane, Australia), Phuong (London, UK), Giang (California, US), Ngoc Minh (Viet Horizon Club in Saigon), Judy and Son Michael:
We left the hotel with sacks of gifts.
More good news arrived. A Santa came by the orphanage yesterday and donated meals for the party dinner. Earlier today another Santa dropped by and donated a large Christmas cake. A few more toys came in and we now have enough for every kid.
To view images of the party:http://www.flickr.com/photos/39932570@N06/sets/72157622932567335/
Friday, December 25, 2009
Just the nick of time
My first prayer for today was answered, all of the luggage arrived safe (it's the 250 pounds of gifts for the orphanage we were worried about).
We met our two new volunteers Amy Wong from Brisbane (Australia) and Giang Le who is on holiday break from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles). We headed to the Go Vap orphanage, empty handed, to introduce our volunteers to the orphanage management and give Amy and Giang an orientation and tour. We also wanted to learn more from the management about the Christmas party for kids planned for the next day.
When we told Mrs. Loan, vice director of the orphanage, that we brought plenty of toys and candies her eyes and face lit up. She told us that she did not anticipate toys from us, and up until two days ago all they have collected were few used toys. The ususal source of toy donation for Chirstmas did not come through this year. So another prayer was answered.
As soon as they reached the newborn baby ward, Amy and Giang loaded themselves with babies. They were so taken back in the baby ward, the one with the most difficult medical conditions. We continue to grow our volunteer network with talented and caring individuals such as Amy and Giang. Our prayers have always been answered.
Early night tonight so Santa can prepare his list and check it again, ready for the big event tomorrow.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Warmest Greetings from Saigon, Viet Nam.
My last Christmas in Saigon was in 1974, thirty five years ago. What is the occasion this year? A very special event on Christmas Eve brings us here. Our very first 'Teach Me To Fish' recipient, someone who inspired me to launch the program (and a great testament on how much a difference can be made with less than a dollar a day), will get married on Christmas Eve in Saigon. I have shared the story of Dr. Ha and many of you have met her family (traveling on the HumaniTours). We are honored to be at her wedding and bring along congratulations and good wishes from many of you.
We left North Pole (Seattle) on Sunday night (Dec. 20) with our maximum luggage allowance - some 250 pounds of gifts. Twenty four hours later we arrived in Saigon and experienced one of the most special Christmas season. Meeting us in Saigon are several 'Santa Assistants' - our newest Kids Without Borders volunteers - coming from different corners of the world.
We will start posting our trip reports on the blog with stories, photos, and videos. We invite you to follow us and share with your friends and families.
Where you are celebrating this holiday season, may you feel the special joys this season brings. On behlaf of the KIDS we serve, THANK YOU for your support, your encouragement, and your friendship.
Son Michael Pham (and Judy)
On the same day the very first Boeing Dreamliner took off from an airport in our home state of Washington, not too far away we had our on 'lift off' to celebrate.
Our own tireless Katrina Dohn (photo on left), who leads our operation in the Seatac/Tukwila areas received some wonderful news from the Fellowship Bible Church. The church leaders have approved an offer to Kids Without Borders to use, free of charge, part of the church facility as our future operation center serving the south Seattle/King County communities. This is most welcome news to us, since we can now save rental expenses for the current storage that the south operation is using. The future operation center will be eventually built and equipped to better serve our programs and projects.
We launched the south operation center only four months ago and it has made great impact in the surrounding communities. Under the leadership of Katrina (teacher for the Tukwila School District) we now have a strong network of school teachers, counselors, and parents, helping us reach out to children and families with needs as well as children who want to volunteer. Our Hand Me Up program has distributed thousands of brand new children's products (clothes, footwear, toys, ...)in only a few months since this operation center opened. Kids Without Borders (represented by Katrina) was invited to a city council meeting of the City of Tukwila in November to make a special presentation on the work we do.
We still have quite a way to go before we can move to the new location. We need volunteers and materials to renovate the space. We also need shelves and storage bins. If you want to donate your time and money to support our work, please contact us or make your donation online from our website.
THANK YOU Katrina and her team (Verna and Tracy), and many volunteers, donors, and supporters.