Friday, September 14, 2007

Some action at Blue

Wednesday was one of those amazing days in which everything seems to happen at once.

The day kicked off with a runaway boy named Cuong coming to the Blue Dragon center. He was brought by the leader of one of the street gangs, who has a heart of gold and often helps us out. Cuong was a nice kid; he had been in Hanoi for about a week after running away from home in the countryside. A story we've heard dozens of times before.

Cuong wanted to return home, but was frightened that he'd get into trouble. So one of our staff, Van, offered to accompany him back on a trip that should have taken no more than 3 hours to get there and back.

Unluckily for Van, Cuong was so worried that he kept giving the bus drivers and motorbike taxi drivers false directions! They travelled to the wrong province, then had to take a ferry to get them onto the right road... then they rode in circles on the back of a motorbike... then walked for 4 kilometers... and then Cuong announced that he didn't want to go home after all!

It was a happy ending, though. Van finally reassured Cuong that everything would be OK. And it was. The family was hugely relieved to have their son back. They are extremely poor, and love their son. So we will support Cuong to go to Grade 9 at his local school, and maybe help out with a bicycle for the family.
That's Cuong in the blue shirt; his mum and dad are wearing white.

Van's 3 hour trip finished 8 hours later...

Back in Hanoi, our social workers Diep and Giang organised another community service day, in which some of the kids from our center were invited to help renovate the home of a family with a disabled child.

We've done this before, but this time we took a bit of a risk: the kids who came to help were mostly from the gangs that roam the streets at night. But they rose to the occasion, and spent the day scrubbing and painting walls. They returned to the center late, tired, and covered in paint... but exhilarated to have done such a selfless thing.


And at the Blue Dragon center itself, we had a day of visitors: first from the Young Falcons in the morning, and then from the World Vision Singapore team in the afternoon.

World Vision Singapore has been the main supporter of our work with street children over the past couple of years. This was our first meeting, though; and it was a blast! About a dozen of their staff came to the center, loaded up with games to play, music to dance to, and prizes for the kids. It was a riot!

They even organised a fashion show, in which some of our kids (and staff!) dressed up in balloons, toilet paper, and streamers, and paraded down a catwalk.

Our kids howled with laughter for hours. For me, there's no better sound. Anyone who brings such happiness to our boys and girls is warmly welcome ANY time.

What a great day.

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