Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 12 Saturday November 8, 2008

Go Vap Orphanage welcomed back Kim Browne, born as Son Thuy (Son= mountain, Thuy= water). Growing up in London and is a successful business woman currently working for a major international company, Kim and her Mum returned to Go Vap almost exactly a year after their very first visit. Kim apparently left a positive impression from her three week volunteer stint a year ago--many of the staff and the children were very happy to see her again, especially when both of them walked through the main gate with huge bags of gifts!
Kim visited room by room and looked for some of her favorite kids. Some of sick babies were gone including most of the hydrocephalus babies. However, there was some good news: the ‘purple face baby’ (he turned purple when he had seizures and once, Kim was helping to resuscitate him) is now quite healthy and active. He had his surgery in July to install a shunt (for hydrocephalus) and the scar on top of his head is almost covered with his hair. Another of Kim’s favorite kids was adopted and is now living in the U.S.
Later on in the evening was the usual reunion dinner for the Teach Me To Fish orphans, organized each time I come to Viet Nam. The twenty kids took buses from where they lived or worked (and some came from Thu Duc and the Go Vap Orphanages) and gathered at the regular ‘all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant’ in the city center. They were very happy to see Kim and her Mum again (both were at the reunion dinner a year ago). The evening was filled with laughter, story-telling, practicing English with Kim (and Vietnamese for Kim, who does not speak the language). It was a great opportunity for me to have one-on-one time with the kids, help them with life challenges, give them encouraging words, and to set some future goals. The oldest in this group is 26, and the youngest is 16. Some have children of their own now. But they have all landed on their feet, and were able to escape the typical path of most orphans when they leave—they are often destined to live in poverty or in many cases become victims of the streets.

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