Monday, July 06, 2009

Hard to blog

After a flurry of blogging a few months back, I've fallen into a lull - so much to write about, but no idea where to start!

When I set out to create this blog back in 2005, my idea was to create a direct and immediate line of communication between me here in Hanoi, and the supporters and friends of Blue Dragon all around the world. I wanted to let them know what was going on in our big family of street kids.

It's turned out that the process of writing each blog has become a kind of therapy for me. I'm forced to ask what I really think and believe; and quite often the very act of writing helps me to understand myself a little better.

At other times, though, I am so lost that I don't even know where to start.

For any foreigner living in Vietnam, life can be a little on the crazy side every day; but working with street kids, and being involved in the lives of people who've been trafficked / abused / arrested / tortured... well, that takes the craziness to a whole new level.

I often feel that life is out of control: anything can happen, at any time. Sure, that's roughly true everywhere in the world; but here, the range of 'anything can happen' is a little broader. Here are some insights into events just in the past 7 days:

- a complete stranger rides his motorbike up to me outside the Blue Dragon residence (where up to 17 very needy teenagers live) and says: "Hi, I just bought this building so I'm the new landlord. Now I'd like to see your rental contract." We didn't even know the building was for sale, and now we don't know if our 5 year contract on the house will be honoured, or if we need to start looking for a new home!

- I receive a phone call that one of the teens from Blue Dragon has been in a motorbike accident, and he's either dead or in hospital. (Two people were involved in the accident, and one had died; but the police were not sure who was who). Would I mind going down to the hospital to work out if the Blue Dragon kid is dead or alive? (He was alive).

- a staff member rings in to announce that she's quitting, and she's never coming back. The next day, she rings in to apologise and ask if she can come back to work.

- a 14 year old boy calls me to say he plans to go to the Chinese border, as he's been invited to join a gang of thieves that promises to help him earn at least $1000 within a few months. Despite my warnings, he goes - but he's back within 36 hours as his best friend has been arrested. Oh, and would I help with some money for the friend to pay a fine?

- the Thai Embassy in Hanoi invites us to nominate two of our older kids to travel to Thailand for a study tour; we select two teens, a boy and a girl, who are excited beyond belief at the chance! But completely out of nowhere, the father of the boy - who I can honestly say has done nothing for his son in the 4 years that I have known him - decides that Thailand is far too dangerous a destination, and forbids his son from going. The boy is devastated, as are we.

I could go on... but you get the picture. Life here is anything but boring, but sometimes the constant curve balls from left field become overwhelming.

In the midst of all these events (which, I should add, are considered pretty ordinary around the Blue Dragon HQ) we're preparing budgets for the coming 12 months, developing program and fundraising plans, and analysing our finances from the past year. It strikes me that there appears to be a massive disconnect between the 'formal' side of my work as the Director of an NGO, and the blow-by-blow reality of my life.

But is there really a huge gap between the two - or are they just different faces of the one coin?

I think it's the latter, but with my head still spinning from the events of the day I don't think I can reach any logical conclusions. I'll just wait for the world to slow down and get back to blogging about something that I can get my mind around.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael, long time, no see! How are you? Just read this entry with interest and empathy. You are definately right, sometimes the non-stop curve balls get way too much! I find I spend a lot of time trying to anticipate the curve balls, but they get me every time. Keep it up tho, lah! Blue Dragon sounds like it'g going from strength to strength. Well done. Love Jackie in Hoi An x