Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Two old ladies

This blog gives readers the wrong impression about my life.

Being the leader of a small charity is certainly exciting, exhilarating, and rewarding, but I must point one thing out: most of my time is spent doing administration.

All the stories that I put up on the blog are true, but what the stories don't reveal is that in between all the exciting bits are hours, days, and sometimes weeks of admin.

On a quiet day, I get only 15 - 20 emails; on hectic days I will have 30 or even 50 to reply to.

And it's quite normal for me to spend a day sitting in my office while there's a line at the door of people needing to talk to me about all sorts of things: the staff ("why haven't you paid me yet?"); the kids ("I need help!"); and sometimes complete oddballs ("I'm here to check that your fire extinguishers are hanging in the correct place").

Yesterday was a bit like that. Since coming back from the trip to rescue trafficked children, I've been running on a pretty low battery and the admin seems to be piling up around my ears.

But then, right at the very end of the day, a wonderful thing happened. Two old ladies dropped in to see me.

These women really were at the opposite end of the age spectrum to the people I usually talk to! And it turned out that they had walked here from their homes about 2 kilometers away.

One of them, I learned, is the grandmother of "Binh", our boy who has gone south for drug rehab. His grandmother has spent the last three months worrying about him; Binh didn't want his family to know where he was, and so his grandmother has been losing sleep night after night, wondering if he has been arrested, or if he has died...

Binh's grandmother and her friend are two of the most beautiful people I have met here in Hanoi. They were both so concerned, and yet also so polite and undemanding; they were even reluctant to accept an offer of a ride back to their homes when our meeting was over.

At the end of a long and tiring day, it was such a blessing to spend some time with the two old ladies. So good to know that when Binh returns, he will have such people caring for him.

Everybody needs a grandmother or two in their lives to dote on them and worry about them. If only all of the Blue Dragon kids had such people in their lives.

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