Mother’s Day is not celebrated in Viet Nam, but it was on my mind as we set out for Phu Ninh last Sunday. The children we were going to see no longer live with their mothers, having been separated from them by death, illness, accident, or poverty. Although a mother can never be replaced, the staff at the Children’s Home are doing a wonderful job of providing the children with affection and security, along with basic material needs. On a day that honors both those who bear children and those who care for them, I felt very happy to be able to support their efforts.
Five of us (Esther, Lloyd, Thao, Nhung, and Linda) were greeted warmly by the children and staff. Linda Létourneau, who has spent several months in Hoi An each year for the past several years, joined our group for the first time. Having had quite a bit of experience volunteering at the Hoi An Orphanage, Linda came prepared, showering the kids with many bottles of brightly colored nail polish. The kids—older and younger, girls and boys—had a great time jazzing it up with fanciful color combinations.
After lunch, Linda arranged for ice cream for everyone, a rare and welcome treat on a sweltering summer day. Linda has also kindly provided funding for two new fans for the children’s sleeping quarters and for a new basketball hoop for the play area. Many thanks, Linda, and we look forward to seeing you again next month!
“Big sister” Nhung is very popular with the older girls. She is learning some sign language so that she can communicate more easily with Han, who is hearing impaired. I asked what they were talking about. “Personal things,” she told me.
Happily, this month, in addition to our regular contribution of four million VND toward the children’s nutrition, we had another very special gift for the Children’s Home. In April, we had learned that two of the Home’s three refrigerators had broken down, and replacements were urgently needed with the hot summer months coming up. Robin Barnes reached out to friends in the Da Nang community about this particular need, and the response was amazing. One refrigerator was generously sponsored by Big Bear Kitchen (so appropriate considering the delicious yogurt, peanut butter, marinara sauce, and pesto that comes out of their kitchen!), and the other through the collective contributions of four Da Nang-based families. A big thank you to each and every donor for your kindness! Stay tuned next month for photos of the new acquisitions.
We enjoyed a simple lunch of noodles, meat broth, and veggies fresh from the garden on two of the new tables that have recently arrived at the Home. Mr. Hung ordered four large tables and 20 high-backed wooden chairs from a local carpenter so that the older children would have both a more home-like setting for their meals and also an expansive surface on which to study. One of our goals is to help offset some of the cost of the new furniture over the next two months.
Our next visit is scheduled for June 10. Please call/message/email if you are interested in joining us or if you have any questions about our group’s activities. Donations can be made via GoFundMe or PayPal. Once again, our deepest thanks to those of you who have so generously donated your time and money to this good cause!
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