Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kids Helping Kids

Volunteering at the Go Vap Orphanage

By Lilly Kilguss

Hi! My name is Lilly Kilguss and I was adopted from Viet Nam when I was a baby. I have a brother and sister from China and I am the oldest in my family. I recently went to my home country, Viet Nam, for two months and yes, the trip was amazing! My sister came along too and of course my mom. While we were there, a big part of what we did was volunteer at the Go Vap Orphanage.

Son Michael Pham is the man who introduced us into the orphanage. His foundation is called Kids Without Borders. The first time we met Son Michael Pham, our meeting was at the Caravelle Hotel. He said to call him Chu Son. We also met a few people with what is called a HumaniTour. The whole group took two or three taxis to the orphanage.

When we arrived at Go Vap, we were all invited inside for tea by the director, Co Loan, who was so nice! Chu Son gave us a talk about what to expect inside the orphanage. Everyone brought something for the kids: Paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, scissors, candy, etc. Then, we took a tour of Go Vap. First, we went to a little room with about 10 to 15 kids about the ages of seven to ten. We brought gummy bears and Swedish fish that we passed out to the kids. The kids seemed really happy to get candy and were smiling and jumping around!

As soon as we were finished with meeting the little kids, we met with the hydrocephalus babies and some other sick kids on the second floor. We just walked around the first day but we would visit these sweet kids every day we were there. There were little designs such as characters from the Jetsons and Aliens on the ceiling because these kids are always in bed. Lastly, we headed to the newborn babies room where played with and fed the babies. All the babies in that room were so incredibly adorable. There was this one baby that I found so incredibly cute and adorable combined! His name is Kien! Kien has the cutest smile and laugh I’ve ever heard a baby laugh!

Well afterward, we said our goodbyes to the rest of the volunteers and we headed back to the hotel. After that, we pretty much had a daily routine of teaching there: First, we would sing songs to the little kids; after that, we would visit the hydrocephalus babies and comfort them; and lastly, we would feed the babies and then leave.

In the baby room, there was also a little boy who was 5 years old but very small. I think his name was Phuoc. This is his picture (see below). He liked to play with my glasses and he had a cleft lip that was repaired. My brother also had a cleft lip when he was born. Also there was a little girl named Nguyet who was the cutest thing ever and also had a cleft lip that was repaired. A lot of children get surgeries at the orphanage. For example, we met the Victory Baby that Chu Son helped to receive a surgery. He liked to ride his bike and also slide down the slide. He is very quiet because he cannot hear and he does not talk but it is fun to make him smile.

In fact, seeing all these kids every day and their awesome smiles just made me happy too. This group of boys was so much fun to see and were always happy to see us. They especially liked to sing along with the guitar that we brought with us. Working at the Go Vap Orphanage is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had because it was giving something to others. I know the kids may not have a lot because they are in the orphanage, but they just seemed like regular kids and I did not feel they were very different from me. A lot of the kids had some sort of a difference like their fingers stuck together or could not walk and had special chairs. After the first few days there, I just got used to it and it seemed like normal.

Son Michael Pham is doing an awesome job helping these kids in every possible way he can. I hope I can change the futures of some kids like him like maybe helping the babies with hydrocephalus because they are in their bed all the time.

On our last day at the orphanage, Co Loan had a special lunch for us and another volunteer from Sweden. I felt very sad to leave the orphanage and to leave Viet Nam, which is such a beautiful country. I really miss the kids now that we are at home and I hope to return to the Go Vap Orphanage again soon.

No comments: