Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The return visit

Back in February, I visited the home of Australia's Ambassador to Vietnam, Bill Tweddell.

Bill and his wife Chris had organised a special afternoon tea - not for me, though! It was to farewell one of the Blue Dragon kids, Quang and his mother, Trang.

Quang and Trang were about to fly to Brisbane, where Operation Smile was to remove a neurofibroma (a type of benign cancer) from Quang's face.

From their tiny home on the filthy bank of the Red River in Hanoi to the Martyr Hospital in gorgeous Brisbane is a massive leap. But Trang and Quang did it. They flew to Australia, they endured the pain of the surgery, they spent a month convalescing in the home of a Vietnamese Australian, and finally they flew home.

Quan's face is still swollen, but gradually shrinking back to a normal shape and size. So slowly...

Last night, we made a return visit to see Bill and Chris Tweddell. In the midst of a billion other events and meetings that make up the life of an ambassador, they took time out to sit and chat with Quan and Trang about their experiences in Australia. In the pic below, Bill and Chris are seated; I'm the tall guy and beside me is Phuong, a Blue Dragon social worker.
Despite the remaining swelling, Quan's life is back on track. After a two year break, he'll return to school in August, and to prepare him for that we're planning to hire a tutor to help him revise his studies. As time goes by, the memory of his facial deformity will become more distant, and Quan can finally have a 'normal' life.
Last night's get-together was a most appropriate way of marking this new phase in Quan's life.

No comments: