4:00PM on Nov. 14, the day of the event "Give Back the Innocence", Phat, a member of the event committee announced: "The committee has been flooded with calls for reservations. Over a hundred people expressed the desire to attend the event but we had to turn them down as the event was sold-out."
Amid the cold night in Saigon, Vietnamese New Year's atmosphere filled quiet streets with emptiness along homeless people were wandering. Did you ever accompany them overnight yet?!
For me, a girl had stepped foot onto Saigon for 10 years, and had witnessed the heartache scenes of society that is more specifically where a bustling city is a refuge for those pity people. I wanted to tell you my feelings of overnight accompany. To me, it was incredible significant, and I thought if you were me, then you should experience it once.
Due to my career job schedule, I arrived in Cambodia 2 days later than Mission trip group. Therefore, I only had 12 hours to do my planned works for this trip: the visit of new OBV (One Body Village) open house and together with the group to visit the Vietnamese labor worker site in Cambodia. The meeting of the OBV children and open house visit were in quick process but helped me understand the OBV children's life partially. It made me feel proud that majority of them do well in academic and very obedient, conscious thinking and sharing with others. I wished that they will continue to mature with a positive attitude in life. To that mean, they were taking the opportunities that OBV provides and will take advantage of those to change their lives and their families. The majority of OBV children's families were illegal Vietnamese immigrants in Cambodia. They knew where their native land is but could not go back home because they did not have identity documents and had no money to return home - where intimacy relatives are but the gap in time and wealth made it a virtual distant and unfamiliarity.
1/23/2014 North Vietnam - Sapa
A few of us took a small hike up Hàm Rồng mountain in Sapa. We're having lunch at a local restaurant, and then cha Thanh is taking us to a church for local minority groups in the area.
Group on the road visit Labor Worker site
Time flew by, and today is the last day that Mission trip group farewell Cambodia to continue the journey to Singapore. The flight took off at 3:00PM, so the group took advantage of the final morning period to visit Labor Worker site, and cooked the last intimate meal in Cambodia.
Labor Worker Site - is the ghetto of Vietnamese people who worked as a bricklayer for living in Cambodia. Though, these are not solid decent house but they are only "temporary" housing that assembled from pieces of old bamboo plank, put up by the investors next to towering buildings. The winter is cold and summer is humid.
Our group had arrived and felt a warm atmosphere.
1/21/2014 North Vietnam
Turns out that our trip to north Vietnam includes Lao Cai and Sapa! It's midnight and we just got into LC (after an 8hr, harrowing drive), off to Sapa at 8am.
There's a reason OBV has come to Lao Cai. Since Lao Cai 1) is less developed relative to the other major metropolitan cities, 2) has poor villages of ethnic minority groups, and 3) borders China, underage trafficking is said to exist here. Today has been a surreal day.
We met with Fr. Thanh early this morning to learn about his work with impoverished ethnic minority groups in the area.
1/17/2014 Father Martino - Singapore
Dr. John Heffernan and I are on "top of" Singapore!!
1/15/2014 Cambodia - Sihanouk beach
It's 5:30 am, and we're all ready to take the OBV Cambodia girls to the beach! They were already awake and ready to go looooong before all the adults, they were so excited.
If you think your child doesn't have enough good stuff in their life, one of the OBV Cambodia girls (about 8yrs old) pointed at the swimming pool in front of the hotel we're all staying at for the night and asked Thuy "Is that the beach? Is that where we're swimming?"
Count you blessings, friends.
The daughters of Father and Mother kicked up the smiles
A fondly question that seemed like a joke. But, the children asked very truly, because this was the first time in their lives to see the ocean. The second and third days of our mission trip in Cambodia were going to the Sihanouk beach with the children.
After the overnight flight, the missionary group has regained strength after a long rest. Everyone gathered to attend a seminar on the topic "Pedophile" by Dr. Thuy Dan at the hall of Bridge to Happiness Center at the address of 363 Vo Van Tan, Ward 5, District 3.