Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ain't no angel

I've been writing a lot during recent months about the work Blue Dragon does in rescuing kids who are forced to work for garment factories in Ho Chi Minh City.

Each time I write, I struggle to capture the feelings involved in this work: the hopelessness and misery of the children, as well as the disbelief and extraordinary relief they show when we tell them they are free to go home.

There's a line from Bruce Springsteen's Philadelphia that's been playing through my head lately (yeah, I'm secretly a bit of a Bruce fan):

Ain't no angel gonna greet me. It's just you and I, my friend.

When we meet trafficked children, whether it's on the streets as beggars, or as prostitutes in brothels, or as bonded labor in factories, this is what the look in their eye says. There's no hope that anyone, even an angel, is going to appear; there's just no hope at all. The kids are lucky if they have someone else their age to befriend them.

I have a video - it's just a few seconds - which I have hesitated to post on the blog, but which I think deserves to be seen. The little guy in the clip has just been told by our staff that we're taking him home. He doesn't believe us, so we ring his mother and give him the phone to let him hear it from her.

He's so shocked and overwhelmed with relief that he can't even talk - the nightmare is over, the unbelievable has happened. And in his silence, you can see a shade of what life must have been like for him up until this moment.



Anonymous said...

oh gosh... i'm lost for words. :'(
if only i could run over and give the little one a hug...

Tony said...

Hi Michael,

The work you are doing out there is really amazing. I will be in Vietnam for 7 weeks starting in March and I would love to volunteer with Blue Dragon. I tried sending an email through the website, but have not heard back yet. Is there any chance we could speak further about volunteer opportunities?



Alison said...

well sometimes there is an angel there to greet them....... in the form of a Blue Dragon staff member.

I too am lost for words, the video definitely deserves to be seen, thanks for posting it Michael.

Real kids, in real terrible situations.

We can't give the little guy a hug, but we can give a donation to help you guys to rescue others like him.

Can you please put a link to this story so that we can donate?

Kerstin Brittsjö said...


When I read your blogg I remember 2003, lunch at the big room, mixer, paper, soccergame,the children's smile. I remember 2006, big room, the joy of seeing the boys again, The Vine resturant, Sweden losing soccer game against Germany 0-3. children singing for us at the centre.....and sticky rice with mango!!
I miss it all and I need to go back and see you all again!!

Mosher said...

Hey, Mike. Catching up on some blog posts while I'm in Oz and this one almost had me in tears. I've been meaning to plug BDCF on my blogs again and I'll do it with a link to this video. Posts going up now.

Maybe catch you in Sydney or back in Hanoi later this year. And keep up the good work.