Friday, November 11, 2011

Vung Tau Orphanage

Hello All,

So today was the first day implementing the lesson plans at the orphanage. Exhausting emotional day.

The day began @ 4:50 A.M. Ugh! We took a taxi to the bus station and we were all on our way. The town of Vung Tau is south of Ho Chi Minh City about 2 1/2 hours away. What a ride! Our bus driver was skilled but aggressive. I see you have to be an aggressive driver to take part in the controlled chaos that takes place in the streets. Imagine, you are driving and there are people merging from every angle honking and finding a piece of road to call their is insane! To his credit, the bus driver got us their safe and sound. I was very happy to hear however, that we would be taking the hydrofoil boat (much quicker) back to Ho Chi Minh City!

Vung Tau takes care of children who have been abandoned for various reasons. Some of the kids are HIV positive, some have a cleft palate, some just because. It is heartbreaking. They are thirsty for love and knowledge. We arrived @8:15 for an 8:30 class. This class is made up of mostly younger elementary school age kids. They know the program, they were lined up by the door ready to work, all smiles!

Today's lesson was actually sending and replying to an e-mail. So they each created a little note to send to their computer lab partner for the first time. It was so precious. One kid sent an e-mail to the kid next to him and when the e-mail showed up in his friend's inbox, he raised his hands in victory over his head and said, "Yes!" We all had a good laugh. Actually my family sometimes has the same reaction when I successfully complete a task on the computer! Not really, but sort of.

So the next class was an older group, more sophisticated, creating a WORD document.  The kids seem to enjoy that and really learn something. As much as I felt like it was so good to be there today, there was a palpable sadness in the room. The kids know you aren't staying, they know that they are probably not going to be adopted by anyone and so they know that the inevitable goodbyes will come and things will probably stay the same for them. The work that Orphan Impact does is so great because they give the kids an opportunity to tap into the same stream that our kids tap into, so I would like to think that gives them some glimmer of hope for their future. I don't know.

At the end of sessions today, we presented each child with donations in a gift bag that I schlepped in a couple of suitcases. They each gave a big, "Thank You" and seemed very happy. This little girl is adorable, she was so appreciative. She kept coming into the intermediate class with her bag on her shoulder prancing around. I loved that!

So, I wasn't expecting to be so sad today after this first visit. We are all so blessed to be loved and to love and have such great lives. What I know is I am glad I am here having this experience.

Love to you all,


  1. Wow. Great post Maria. You are really doing something important. Love and miss you. Steve

  2. Maria, you are so amazing and we are all so proud of the work you're doing. Those kids are so lucky to have you. Can't wait to hear more.

    Love you,


    p.s. Take if from the 'family shutterbug:' Remember to have photos taken that include YOU in the picture. You'll be glad to have those when you come home.