From Flip Flops To High Heels

This time of year in Vietnam is so hot & humid, & running around the orphanage like a crazy woman means that I cannot wear shoes which are difficult to take off. The Vietnamese custom is to remove your shoes at the door before you enter each ward, so flip flops are the most sensible option. (I believe that Australians or New Zealanders call them thongs & I’m not talking about the underwear kind).

As always, I had a brilliant & very busy day at the orphanage. I met a lovely Italian lady who used to work for Gucci, but had decided that volunteering was more fulfilling for her. Daniela has been periodically volunteering at Go Vap orphanage for 3 years; her favourite little boy, just so happens to my favourite student, Tai! We have arranged to take Tai & Nhi for ice cream tomorrow & are meeting at the Opera House.

With the help of Jelly (Mai) & one of the older boys (who had been adopted by the Sunday school teacher from Son Michael’s Teach Me To Fish Programme), I was able distribute all of the Danone Activia teddy bears to the kids throughout the orphanage. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for the remaining 5 boxes of gifts to be released from DHL Viet Nam.

It was a joy to see the smiles on their faces. Kids are so funny, I am sure that throughout the world all kids behave the same with a new toy. LOL these little angels were more interested with playing with the labels on the bears, than with the bears themselves! I am not a mother yet, but know not to get into playing catch the falling teddy bear every time a child throws a toy out of the cot. As much as I would have enjoyed doing so, if I had of done so, I would have been there all day! ;O)

After the bears were distributed, it was back to teaching the 7 year old kids English. I have to admit, it’s a difficult, but rewarding task! The children’s abilities are mixed; some of them have speech difficulties, others are fast learners & some of them have mental disabilities. I am always so relieved that Phuong is there to help me control the class, & today I had the added help with Jelly, who also contributed.

Once lessons had finished, it was time to spend time with my favourite baby Nhat & visit the other children in the hydrocephalus & disabled ward. It breaks my heart to see those children laying there as they are unable to move, or speak for themselves; when they do cry, you know it’s because they are in pain or too hot. Today I got so worried about Hien, who is about 7 or 8 years old & is dying from hydrocephalus. Because Hien’s head is so huge from the water on the brain & was crying so much, blood appeared on the skin of his head. The nursemaids said he cried a lot & just gave me a wet flannel to cool him down, which did seem to help.

I so need more volunteers who will spend more time with these kids, even if it is to hold their hand, cuddle them or to read or sing to them. At present, I’m trying to find Dr’s who will help with the prevention & early diagnosis of hydrocephalus. These kids desperately need mattresses, as well as back & head rests to help ease their pain. At present I’ve not been able to find any in Vietnam that would help these kids. If anyone knows where I could get a head rest large enough for Hien & the others who are suffering, please let me know!

I often wonder if I’m mature enough to be a mother yet; my darling mum is able to feed & change dozens of babies’ nappies, single handed! Personally, I sometimes find it difficult to get the babies’ to feed from the bottle, & let’s just say I’m a disaster when it comes to changing their nappies! The nursemaids just giggle every time I try to put the pin in the nappy, and then see the nappy fall off!

This evening I put my high heels on, & mum & I met up with Vanina, a French psychologist & friend of mine whom I met last year at Go Vap. Vanina works for Sao Mai; that organisation has built a playroom room for the babies to help with their development. We went to the Saigon Bar & had a great time catching up. It’s funny, I can only speak basic high school French and Vanina can only speak a bit of English; yet we understand each other so well & have a very strong bond!

A fellow adoptee wrote to me & mentioned that I looked ‘alive’ when I was in Vietnam. I guess that’s because I appreciate life more. I want to make the most of what life has to offer, and still be able to give back in some small way. I am so lucky that I work for a company that has great corporate social responsibility & very kind colleagues who have donated so much to children whom they have never met. It is always heart warming when I meet friends, old & new from different countries & who want to help the children of Vietnam too! I feel so blessed!

Good night & sweet dreams from Vietnam.

Love & light,

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  1. #1  Laura

    I am enjoying your blog. We adopted our son from GoVap in December and he is the love of our lives (well, he and his sister) Thank you for all you are doing for the children still without families. It breaks my heart to know my son was one of the babies not being rocked each night as there just aren’t enough volunteers. Blessings on your trip!

    09/07/16 23:03

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