And so to Friday!
Earlier this week I compared our drop-in centre to an ants' nest. Here's how it looked at 2pm this afternoon:
I think we need a bigger centre!
There are a few particular games that the kids are just crazy about: Connect 4; Uno; and a game involving stringing up an elastic way above everyone's head and trying to leap onto it with one foot. Our kids may be small, but they're extremely agile.
To keep the kids occupied, there was once again a great range of things to do - and once again, swimming topped the list.
I wrote some time ago about the need for children in Vietnam to learn to swim. It's certainly fun for the kids to go to the pool, but there's also a very important reason for them to come and practice their swimming with us. Ten children drown daily in this country.
We were on alert for a possible attempt at theft this morning, as one of the teens noticed a thief from the nearby market scoping out our premises. I think the young guy got spooked and disappeared pretty quickly once he saw all of us watching him.
A much more enjoyable moment was eating treats made by kids with disabilities in the Blue Dragon kitchen. I've written before about Mummy Dish Day, but this was the first time that I've been in the office when the kids (and one beaming mummy) carried their dishes downstairs to share with everyone. Man, were those kids proud as the staff team demolished their dishes!
Apart from all this fun and action, much of my day was taken (as usual) with emailing, planning, and the more formal side of running a charity. These days I receive about 40 emails per day - and I do try to answer them all before I get to bed. (Not that I am going to succeed tonight!) It was really nice this afternoon to meet up with Seb, who works here in Hanoi in an Embassy but in his own spare time organised a football tournament last month which raised funds for Blue Dragon and a local pagoda. Seb came by today to deposit the funds - about 50,000,000 VND! - which will go toward our Outreach work. Much appreciated!
With our chief lawyer and Child Rights Advocate, Van, about to leave the country for a year of study, tonight we met up for a farewell drink. It's sad to be saying goodbye - he's an amazing man, as long term friends of Blue Dragon know. But the important thing is that he will be back! And to that end, my farewell gift for him tonight was a boomerang...
This will be my final in my "Week at Blue" blogs. From tonight I'll get back to my regular routine of writing a couple of times each week about special stories and events. And yes yes, I realise I only counted 6 days in this week! I'm hoping that Saturday's blog would read "Woke up really late and went swimming with the kids from our Shelter." If anything more exciting than that happens, I'll post a story about it! I do hope these entries have helped our friends around the world gain some more insight into a typical week at Blue Dragon in Hanoi.