Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A birthday first

On Monday, we had a real cause for celebration: the very first birthday of Dong, one of the teenage boys living in our Hanoi shelter.

Dong has never had a birthday before. Until late last year, he never had a birth certificate, so our staff member Van travelled around the countryside to work with the police and government officials in order to do the impossible: obtain a birth certificate for a 14 year old boy who has no close relatives in existence.

To settle on the actual date, Dong just had to take a guess. He did have a fairly good idea of the year, though.

And so, what should have been his 15th birthday was actually his first. At last, Dong has an annual milestone to look forward to (or, as those of us on the wrong side of our 20s would say: dread).

It might not seem like such a big thing, but imagine a childhood with no birthdays. Imagine not really being sure of your age, and of having nobody notice that you're another year older.

Dong's party was like all the rest: some terrible singing, some corny speeches, loads of food, and some presents. What a terrific event in the life of this wonderful kid.


1 comment:

Terynn said...

Happy Birthday, dear Dong! May you have many, many more!!