Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 11 Friday November 7, 2008

This morning, I met three doctors from Project Viet Nam here on a medical mission. They signed up for a tour of the Go Vap Orphanage. One of the doctors is from Southern California, one is from Virginia, and one is from Melbourne (Australia). We arrived at the orphanage as some of the kids came back from school for lunch and their usual afternoon nap. After the meet-and-greet with the orphanage staff, the orphanage doctor accompanied us on the tour. We started first in the ward for newborn babies, then to the ward for sick-babies. As usual, visitors could not help but pick up the babies and then when the babies were returned to their cribs-- the crying would break your heart. The doctors were quite taken with the little baby with the large tumor, the hydrocephalus babies and the number of sick babies cared for by this orphanage. They were very impressed with the staff and the cleanliness of the facilities. It is my hope that they will share, with others in their profession, how great the needs are here. For almost ten years, KWB has coordinated volunteers working at the orphanage. Our volunteers came from many different countries and all ages, with different backgrounds such as medical doctors, college students, retirees, and teachers.
Later on in the afternoon, I was reunited with Kim Browne arriving with her Mum from London. Kim is one of KWB Global Ambassadors. Kim’ personal story is quite remarkable. In 1975, just before the fall of Saigon and the end of the Viet Nam war, Kim was one of the newborn babies that arrived at the Go Vap Orphanage. Just days before during the massive evacuation marking the end of the war, Kim was brought to airport and handed to a pilot who flew one of the few final planes out of Viet Nam. At two months old, Kim ended up in Hong Kong with only a bracelet on her wrist which had the name of a person in the UK who was in the process of adopting her. Through extreme determination and perseverance, the adoptive mother in London was able to locate Kim and brought her to the UK. Last year, Kim returned to Viet Nam. The trip was made possible by Kim’s company in London. She was the winner of a company essay contest, writing about her dream of going back to where life began for her. Kim contacted me and, last November, I was able to help Kim return to Go Vap Orphanage. Kim and her Mum spent three weeks working with the staff taking care of the children there. She used the funds she raised prior to the trip to provide the orphanage with many of the daily necessities such as air conditioning units, fans, learning supplies, and much more. On her way home from the last trip, Kim began to make plan for this year’s trip. I met Kim and her Mum for dinner and gave them the latest update on Go Vap Orphanage. They could hardly wait for their visit the following day.

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