This morning we went on another Journey of the Heart. With Mrs. Hoa and Phuong from VAVA ( Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange) and our daughter Quyen, we visited five of the families who will benefit from the generous donations from Bruce's buds, the veterans of 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry and friends in Vancouver and on Salt Spring Island. The 38,000,000 Dong will help a total of 38 families in the Hoi An area. It was a day of reaching out across the generations, two cultures and two countries to heal the wounds of war and the aftermath of dioxin related disabilities.
We returned to see the new small business, established by Man and Hong, both blind and who have a daughter disabled with cerebral palsy. The neighbourhood kids are out of school for Tet and so the games tables, ping pong and foosball were very busy. By the time we arrived at 10 am, they had made 20,000 Dong ( one US dollar), but at this rate per day they will make enough to support themsleves for a month and to save for a refrigerator.
This family have been able, with the help of Journeys of the Heart, to repair a small fish boat engine, and will augment their income by fishing once the sea is calmer in the spring.
When we show up, the whole neighbourhood wanders by to see what all the excitement is. This morning this old gent really wanted to be in on the action. He is a former Viet Cong soldier and wanted very much to say "hello" to Bruce and shake his hand. In fact, he would not let go of Bruce until we loaded into the car.
Each story of the suffering of these families, tears at one's heart. Aging parents are struggling to care for their disabled children.
We found this severely disabled ( mentally and physically) forty year old woman, at home alone in a single dark,moldy room. Her seventy three year old mother leaves her each day to work in the rice paddy. Her father died last year. The neighbours watch out for her and help her with food and toilet until her mother is home.
Can you imagine the excitement as we drove up (or often walked down a muddy lane) with these baskets of treats. Quyen had the baskets made up so that these sweet people could celebrate Tet. How we love Quyen's huge heart.