December 19, 2007
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
It’s Sophia again. I thought I would make another guest appearance on Rachel’s Blog before we leave Hue. The Hoang Long Hotel here in Hue has become our home in Viet Nam and it will be sad to leave. I will especially miss the sound of the children going to the school next door in the morning. I will not miss the fact that they go to school at 6am and seem to always have recess when we actually have time for a nap!
Reflecting on our time here in Hue is a daunting task. We have experienced so much. After our first experience with the villages on the 16th I was left feeling overwhelmed. The amount of need we witnessed coupled with the frustrating limits the government was placing on our work made it easy to feel useless. But now that we have been back to the villages on two other occasions and have been to the orphanage two more times I am filled with hope. Don’t misunderstand me; the need is still there. And I am not saying in the last three days we have successfully solved all the problems in Hue. The hope I feel comes from seeing the lives of those we have touched and envisioning the possibilities of further serving the people of Viet Nam.
Today we gave rice, noodles, eggs and milk to 20 families. After waiting for the delivery truck to arrive we started our assembly line. It was so much more chaotic today because we drew lots of attention from school children and local villagers. After distributing the goods we split into two groups and visited the homes of the families we gave aid to. I thought it would be another day of sadness but today I looked passed the suffering and saw the people. I think we often place people into neat little boxes that make sense to us. I had placed the villagers into the victim box. Victims of the flood, victims of their government, victims of society. But they are so much more. They are mothers and fathers. They laugh they cry. They have inside jokes and enjoy beauty. The people in the village also play a role in their own cycle of poverty. We asked if many of the families if their children were in school and usually the answer was no. From what we have learned they don’t value education and fail to fight for a better future for the children. We heard from a woman who although she couldn’t feed her one child, had a child with a stranger because she wanted a son. This knowledge may seem depressing in itself but there is another way of looking at it. Mother nature and the system of government are hard to change. Showing the importance of education and family planning is a much more attainable goal. If we can provide food, shelter and an opportunity to make money then the Vietnamese will have more time and resources to devote to bettering their children’s futures. The mothers we meet today are not victims; they are fighters. I am hopeful that things can change.
Even more encouraging is the story of the Duc Son orphanage. In just three visits I have come to love Duc Son. There are so many things to say about the children and nuns of the orphanage. I think what strikes me the most is the amount of joy and love inside the walls of Duc Son. Even though these 198 children each have there own sad story they are filled with such happiness. The nuns at the orphanage truly love each child unconditionally. They hug them, kiss them, toss them in the air, and fix their hair in pretty pig tails. They provide a loving home to those developmentally disabled children who have been ostracized from society. The orphanage desperately needs a new location. When the rainy season comes, flooding devastates them. The orphanage has acquired land on higher ground and volunteer labor. All they need is the money for the building and Think About the Children wants to focus their energy on raising the needed funds. There is hope in this new building. The Duc Son can be a safe dry place with the resources to give the children the opportunities they deserve. In turn the children will be inspired to effect change in their community. Saying goodbye to Duc Son today was hard, but I know that I will be working to support them from the states.