Saturday, March 19, 2016

We Deliver

We have been working with the Reaching Out Vietnam team again, of course, this year. As usual, there are a number of things going on, the most exciting of which is the launching of the new website. Have a look at In addition, we have discussed packaging, signage, and the new on-line catalogue which will be up and running in a couple of months. With the catalogue, we are hoping to reach a much broader audience of customers around the world.  "Strengthening the Brand" is one of the terms that we have become familiar with. We want our slogan to be top of mind for people in the know about authentically made crafts and social enterprises gaining popularity with travellers to SE Asia. As strong as Nike's Just Do It ! We have big dreams at Reaching Out.

"Gifts That Give Twice", refers to the "social" aspect of the business. While our customers and their friends receive beautifully made memories of Hoi An, our disabled artisans and servers are given the gift of opportunity, training and meaningful employment which enables them to live independent lives.

All of this marketing and advertising has made us think....maybe Journeys of the Heart should also have a slogan or tagline. This week  "We Deliver" sounds good!!!

Bruce and I consider ourselves the delivery people for all of our supporters and donors. And what a joy it is to deliver your love, your kindness and your generous gifts.

Here is an e-mail that we got just the other day from Linda at Children's Education Foundation.

I just wanted you to know that we still have money left from V 's donation and attached are some photos related to the spending of her money on books so far. 

The money was spent for book boxes and books for the boxes. They have gone to a pagoda in Thang Binh. Children from three surrounding communities will come there to borrow books. 

The remaining money will be spent on more book boxes and books also. 

Love and thanks for your help for us to get this wonderful donation, and big thanks to V.

CEF takes such good care of the books. Each one is covered and then bagged to protect it against the unrelenting moisture in this tropical environment. The girls whose education is sponsored by donors to CEF have the privilege of signing out books and they even sign a contract about how they will care for the books until they are returned to the "library"....big plastic buckets at this pagoda.The library shelves are at the CEF office in Hoi An. There is such excitement when the girls choose their books and the smiles let us know that they will enjoy reading.

We feel useful and gratified when we receive notes like the following from donors who entrust us to get their dollars to the people "on the ground" who can directly put the funds to work. The following note came from the benefactor of these library books.

Such news and comments always move me to tears…that a gift of $$ that I do not need, could mean and do so much for girls far away. Thank you for all you do in the sharing our many blessings.

Journeys of the Heart has been a principle donor to this program, started a few years ago, in memory of a dear friend by her book club members who provided the early funds. Since then, Canadian friends who support literacy have been faithful donors and our friend V has just made another considerable contribution. 

For three years in a row now we have been "couriers" for a friend in California who sponsors a student living in a nearby fishing village of Cua Dai. L sends us letters and gifts for Van before we leave for Vietnam. Once here we are her emissaries, mounting up on motorbikes with CEF staff to wind our way down the lanes to Van's house. Just look at the smile as she, with Granny paying close attention, opens L's letter. L always sends pictures of her young family. Van's English is improving to the point where she can read L's letters from start to finish. Van is maturing and becoming a very beautiful teenager. She is taking advanced physics and chemistry this year...a very promising scholar who spends six days a week in school.We can talk together through the skillful translation of CEF staff and on every visit we are endeared by this lovely young woman, whose family is grateful for the educational assistance for Van. They are VERY proud of her, especially Granny.

Sometimes we deliver both donors and their gifts to the right places!!! Recently we accompanied Ann Wittmeyer, from Buffalo, to Nha Trang where her father served during the war. Ann made the trip to walk in her father's footsteps. She would have come with TOP Tours of Peace Vietnam Veterans had they had a scheduled trip this year, but as they did not Bruce, an experienced deputy leader for TOP took on the job. Ann, in TOP and Journeys of the Heart tradition, collected a huge suitcase full of goodies from family and friends  which we helped her deliver to the Hoi An Home for the Elderly and Disabled and the Kianh Foundation. There were also generous cash gifts.

Buffalo and Ann's friends there, gave from the heart and we were so happy to be able to share "our" Vietnam with her.

Every year, it is, as the expression goes here "Same, Same but Different".

So, let us know what you think of our slogan..."WE DELIVER"....we hope to be delivering for years to come!!!!

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