Friday, October 12, 2007


Without a doubt, the best thing about working in Blue Dragon is that I can see, on a daily basis, the progress that our kids make. Boys who once worked on the streets shining shoes now go to college, have jobs in fine restaurants, or study at school. Girls who once worked as domestic servants now lead normal lives, playing and studying, rather than working around the clock for a few cents a day.

But there's a heartbreaking side to my work, too. Because not everybody is able to make it out of the trap they're in.

Since late 2005, Blue Dragon has been working with a young man named Hung who we met as a street kid, who contracted tuberculosis while in a rehab centre. He was so close to death when we met him that the doctors were sure he could not survive. He did, but later developed meningitis and now his mind has deteriorated significantly. In May this year we helped Hung to find work in a center for people with disabilities, but he has taken to wandering the streets, eating scrap, and living in a world of his own. Whenever I see him in the evenings, I bring him in to my home to eat and give him a place to sleep; but there's nothing more that I can do for Hung. And I don't know of any homes or shelters that will care for him.

HIV/AIDS is a trap that is becoming too common here in Vietnam. It's devastating to see it claim its young victims. One of our girls learned yesterday that she is infected; and one of our boys has recently found out that his brother is infected, and may soon die. There seems to be no hope at all.

For my staff, these are tough issues. How do you counsel these kids? What comfort can you give someone who is trapped and may never be able to lead a full and healthy life? We wish we had all the answers, but sometimes we don't have any answers at all.

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