During a fundraising event in support of victims of trafficking, I was walking outside in the parking lot when quite suddenly, a woman carrying a bag filled with possessions fit for a beggar crashed into me, before disappearing again like a soft breeze. Angrily I thought 'how rude!'
Later, as I entered the lobby, I saw her limping toward the door, almost crashing into me again . It was obvious that she had a disability.
Our treasurer Ms. Phuong enlightened us - This lady came to contribute to our fundraising; however, due to her working schedule, she was not able to stay for the event. I was suddenly overcome with emotion.
It was this afternoon in Sydney, with the gleaming sunlight shining upon her crooked legs as she took shaky steps, that I became overwhelmed, my eyes teared as I was so touched, and suddenly....suddenly, everything else seemed so trivial.
Thank God! Although our world is filled with hate and crime, there are still those with hearts of gold, who despite being handicapped themselves, are filled with compassion to give a hand to ease the pain of the children victims of human trafficking.
A chilly afternoon breeze suddenly blew over and aroused me back to reality and the immediate tasks at hand.
Our fundraising event was successful!
Translated by J. Huynh.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The closer I get to girls of the OBV Vietnam house, the more privy I am to their personal stories, which in turn makes me feel that much more responsible for their safety.
It's a bitter pill to swallow when I find out that a couple of the girls are taken from or decide on their own volition to leave the OBV house, or when I hear that the father of one of the girls who sexually abused her is about to be released from prison in a year.
Here are a few updates on some of the lives of the girls of the OBV Vietnam house. Names withheld for obvious reasons, etc. etc.
Part two in a series of short stories of friends and family back home who have gone out of their way to extend their own generosity to those in need here in Vietnam.
This is a story about a small group of classmates turned friends who overhear a conversation and take it upon themselves to be awesome.
Three UW Foster MBA classmates and friends want to ensure that the OBV girls have one of the most entertaining and memorable Christmas gifts ever.
Dec 25, 2013
At the time I wrote this, it was the evening of Christmas Day, which made it the morning of Christmas Day back home in Seattle. Another Merry Christmas to our friends and family in Seattle and across all timezones. We love and miss you all.
In celebration of this spirit of giving, this is the first in a series of short stories of friends and family back home who have gone out of their way to extend their own generosity to those in need here in Vietnam. The protagonists in these stories would probably insist that their contributions were "no big deal." Nothing could be further from the truth.
Thank you to everyone mentioned in these stories, to those unnamed, and to those who continue to offer their support of our work and of OBV. However small these benefactors might think their act to be, they've made a difference in other peoples' lives.
Dec 20, 2013
On Monday, December 16, we rejoined Linh Doan, Director for OBV Cambodia, in Phnom Penh for our second mission trip. During this visit, Thuy would be taken to a Vietnamese village to provide follow-up medical consultations for and dispense medicine to the villagers she saw on her first mission trip to the country.
Dec 15, 2013
During our first One Body Village mission trip to Cambodia, Linh Doan, OBV Cambodia director, took us to two Vietnamese villages in Phnom Penh. Thuy would have a specific task on our visit to the second of the two villages: She was to see and diagnose ailments for 30 men, women, and children.
Even if you read our last blog post "New Girl Joins OBV Cambodia House, Faces Tough Decision," it's worth reminding you that these villages exist in very poor conditions. Generally speaking, these Vietnamese communities are shunned by the larger Cambodian society.
Although many Vietnamese grow up speaking both Vietnamese and Khmer, their undocumented status due to a lack of citizenship in Cambodia makes it hard for them to find proper employment. The men end up working as low-paid construction laborers. The wives take up work of their own while raising their children. The kids go to a school in their village if one is available.
For the two hours that we visited this village, Thuy would become the Vietnamese American version of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Here is what it was like for Thuy to become the doctor for the inhabitants of this village.
Our trip started like many other trips in Cambodia: We hailed a tuk tuk driver. Linh didn't know how to explain our destination in Khmer, so we had to contact someone else and give the phone to the driver for them to explain.
November 20, 2013
About once a month, OBV Vietnam organizes an awareness and prevention mission trip to areas with a high prevalence of sex trafficking and sexual abuse of children. OBV sees such outreach as a critical first step towards the reduction of child sex trafficking.
It's worth noting that OBV VN is officially a counseling and consulting company, believing that education and family counseling is key to prevention of child sex trafficking and abuse. Each trip includes seminars on parenting and child psychology, along with OBV message on sex trafficking and child abuse. With Dr. Phuong, a visiting OB/GYN, and myself on this trip, sessions on women's health and prenatal care were added to the program.
On November 15, 2013, I joined OBV on this month's trip to Ca Mau, the southern most city in Vietnam.
Our team consisted of seven members and volunteers of OBV, plus our regular driver for these kinds of road trips. On this trip was Mr. Binh, OBV VN President, Dr. Phuong Nguyen, an OB/GYN visiting from the U.S., Mr. Sy, a professor of psychology at a local university, Miss Quynh Anh, OBV's counselor who specializes in love, marriage, and family counseling, and Mr. Dang, OBV employee who lives at one of the rehab houses.
Father Nguyen Ba Thong and Mr. Nguyen Duy An, President of One Body Village, came to Houston on May 3rd, 2015 for the spring musical event, which took place at the University of Houston. Along with them were several talented, volunteer performers from California and Vietnam. The singers entertained the audience with a wonderful program that afternoon.
The entire event was devoted to raise awareness for One Body Village . Father Nguyen Ba Thong is the founder of this organization since 2008. His mission is to combat, rescue children from Southeast Asia who were forced into sex slavery and sex trafficking. One Body Village also provides homes, educational and medical assistance to the children. The attendees seemed to have a great time at the musical event; they supported the organization by purchasing t-shirts, cds. All funds go to support victims of sex trafficking in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore.
In the fall, One Body Village supporters will organize a gala, dinner, dancing, auctions, raffle tickets. So, save the date: November 6, 2015. details to be forthcoming on the website: obvhouston.org.
Be a Voice, Lend a Hand, Make a Difference!
My daughter, E., and I are back home from our travels in Vietnam, but we are not the same people as we were when we left. We will forever be impacted by the sweet little girls we met at your OBV house in Ho Chi Minh City.
Thank you so much for allowing us to visit the OBV house when we were there. Thank you too for the wonderful treatment we received from Ms. Thao. Being picked up and taken back to our hotel was so helpful, and she really made our visit with the girls wonderful! What an incredible place you all have created for these girls. They are safe, well fed, cared for, and loved. There is no greater work than to help these girls.
Because many many people asking the same question "how can I help" after listening to Fr. Martino's about "NAKED WITHOUT SHAME" and OBV mission, Trung Tâm Nhịp Cầu Hạnh Phúc (OBV Vietnam) organized a special off-line for those who would like to learn more about OBV Mission and ways to volunteer at 7:00pm on January 27, 2015 at 107 Pasteur Street, HCM City, Vietnam.
Good Morning cha Thong,
I hope this email finds you well. Please let me introduce myself to you. My name is Trinh and I am from Chicago. I remember you from way back when I was a kid going to Thieu Nhi. I remember you giving us rides home after mass at St.Thomas and I thank you for it.
I am contacting you today with a holiday project that I want to carry out with my CCD's 5th grade class at St. Henry. With the Holidays approaching, I want to emphasize on giving back to the community and helping the less fortunate. I want the kids to learn that it is not always about receiving, but it is also about sharing their kindness with others. I have chosen One Body Village as the organization we will raise money for. With that said, I want to know if your online donating site has an option where the donor can add a memo that they are donating on behave of our class? We do not have a particular goal as to how much we will raise, but I want to give the students a final number for them to feel accomplished and that they have made a difference in sharing their love and kindness with the victims.
Please let me know and I hope to hear from you soon.
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:00 AM
Subject: Credit Card Donation
Whether OBV children are used, abused, exploited, or trafficked, they all meet the defining criteria of child sex exploitation and trafficking of the United Nations and the US government. Henceforth, OBV children are to be served, loved, protected, and cared for as stated in OBV Mission.