Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Day 3: March 9, 2005

Goodbye Hanoi, we are going to Hai Phong today to visit Hoa Phuong Orphanage. Hai Phong is a city by the coast which is about 3 hours away from Hanoi. I could only get in touch with the director on Monday and yesterday I was still faxing her and the provincial government the needed documents for our trip. I am so glad we were able to go today. My team seemed to enjoy the road trip – beautiful rice fields and water buffalo J. Today we also said goodbye to our lunch box. We were going to have lunch with the children there, and can I just say it was not simple lunch, it was like a feast? The food looked and tasted very yummy and the whole time there was loud music in the background. After lunch, we started off singing contest. Our team just learnt the Ho Chi Minh song last night and did not miss the opportunity to show it off. The children at the orphanage were no less talented. They sang both Vietnamese and English songs. Just as everybody seems to run out of songs, the floor cleared and we joined hands (and legs) in many dances. Chaplain excused himself from the dancing and held in his laps the two adorable girls. One was Trang, who later followed Kevin around. We only learnt from Ms. Ha, the director that barely two months ago, Trang was still on the streets and begged for her life. Something stuck in my throat even now when I think about it. The girl is so cute, and so adorable that you think she could only enjoy the best of life. But she endured such things that I am sure all of my team has never had to face in our entire lives. It explained why she tended to keep it to herself. Right after given the bottle of bubble, she barely played with it and insisted on putting it away. Only when I asked her for a picture, she took it out and blowed for me. Look at her in the picture, doesn’t your heart ache to think about what she has to go through? For me, the time there was more like a classroom visit than an orphanage because the children were very cheerful and some of the older ones were very stylish as well. Does it matter if they are orphans? They enjoy lives as much as I do and they might even appreciate what they have more than I do. They look out for each other just as one big family. I believe and hope that whatever reason that lands them in an orphan will not stop them from becoming the people they are meant to be.

We stopped for a brief visit to the beach on the way back to Hanoi. Some enjoyed searching for shells, crabs. Some just enjoyed the smell of the sea. It was a nice way to close an evening.

By Thanh


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