Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Too young to make a difference? Meet Chloe, one of our volunteer.

Volunteering in Vietnam

by Chloe Kilguss

This is the story of the time I went to Vietnam and volunteered at the Go Vap Orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City. My name is Chloe and my sister, my mom and I went to Vietnam for 2 months. My sister was born in Vietnam and I was born in China.

Our first day at the orphanage was with Mr. Pham and some other volunteers that were involved with Kids Without Borders. I was mostly excited about seeing the babies and when I heard we would be able to feed them, I was even more excited! First we were given a tour of the orphanage. It was pretty big and had 3 floors and many rooms and hallways and courtyards. The little kids seemed happy to see us and we passed out candy. When we saw the babies they were on a mat playing with the nannies. I sat down and was able to pick up a baby. I was happy that she did not cry.

This is the doorway to the babies’ room. Every day we were at the orphanage, we went in here to feed the babies. Sometimes just my mom fed the babies because it was kind of hard to do. Before we would go into the room, we always washed our hands. It is important to keep the babies free from germs. First we would play with the babies on the mats for about 10 minutes then we would help move all the babies back to their cribs. After that, the nannies would pour milk into the bottles and put the bracelet with the name of the baby whose bottle it was on the bottle. After the baby was fed, the bracelets into a pile like this.

All of the children were so sweet and friendly and I loved them all! One of the babies was blind and had a heart problem. I don’t remember her real name, but we called her Rose because my mom thought her name in Vietnamese meant Rose in English. She was gone for 3 days while were there and she had a heart operation. All of us were so happy to see her back happy and healthy!

There were lots of other kids at the orphanage too like the hydrocephalus kids. Hydrocephalus is when fluid can’t drain from your head, which makes the skull grow larger than usual. In the room with hydrocephalus kids, there were other kids who had different disabilities as well. For example, there was a sweet girl named Hien that we called Dancing Girl because she liked to dance. Her feet turn inward and she walks on the sides of her feet, but she always had a smile on her face.

On our last day, there was a little boy who blew kisses to me and said “bye bye.” I don’t know if he knew it was our last day, but it was cute. Co Loan, the director, invited us to a lunch of noodles, spicy and non-spicy nuoc cham, also some tofu and a green stuffed vegetable soup and some really good orange juice. Also she gave Lilly and I a pretty pencil pouch. Lilly’s is grey and mine is red with a pretty flower design.

Overall the orphanage was an amazing experience and I will always remember it. I hope to revisit sometime in the summer. I am thankful to Mr. Pham for giving me this opportunity.

Doorway to the babies' room

Hien, our Dancing Girl
One of the many hydrocephalus babies

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