In 2006 I with my family visited my relatives in Ca Mau province and visited Phu Quoc prison. I felt very sad when seeing some forms of empire torture done in this prison during the war time. My paternal grandmother told me about the Vietnamese war and about my paternalfather who was fighting for the people independence. I, at that time, decided to come back to Vietnam in near future. I read many books about Vietnam, but it is not enough and I made the application to over 100 Vietnamese organizations for working as volunteer. But they did not accept me, they said I did not have the experience, skill as well as know a little Vietnamese. Finally, one organization accepted me and I asked for working at the Vietnam Friendship Village.
It was very difficult for the first month working at the Vietnam Friendship Village because I did not have the clear orientation and objective in my work. But after a month I felt more comfortable with the children and the Village’s employees. I organized the concert for the children, repaired many wheelchairs, played with the children, took them to the swimming pool and zoo, worked at the organic garden and classes, visited child’s family who lives at the Vietnam Friendship Village and at the end, wrote a book on the Vietnam Friendship Village.
Living at the Friendship Village, I learned many things. The Friendship Village is the place where many disabled children and war veterans meet together, all of them are the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin. I think the life of Vietnam veterans is very hard, but they have many important things to talk and their experience is very important for the Vietnamese young generation. I played with the children a lot and I felt very happy. And now I recognize that the disabled people are not as the same as I have ever thought, are also not as the same as many people have ever thought, many of them have the special abilities and for me they are my friends.
After the time of living at the Vietnam Friendship Village, I have recognized that the Vietnam Friendship Village’s working system is very effective. Many skills are learnt by the children like in the flower, embroidery, sewing and computer classes and they also learn english… I believe that those skills will help for their future. I also met with the leaders, cadres, employees, teachers, doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. They have the good skills and work wholeheartedly and responsibility. Especially I respect the house-mothers very much, and for them the Vietnam Friendship Village is their second house. I think their way of care for children is very special in Vietnam.
I have lived at the Vietnam Friendship Village for 3 months, living here is very good for me. I would like to express my thanks to all people at the Vietnam Friendship Village for helping me have chance to be lived and worked here. When I am far from Vietnam, I will miss Vietnam Friendship Village very much and I sure that I will come back to Vietnam and work at the VFV because I would like to know how the children develop. The Vietnam Friendship Village has become my second home.
Thank you very much and good bye.
August 12th 2009