Thursday, July 08, 2010

A week at Blue: Thursday

This morning had a rotten start: my first duty of the day was to be a disciplinarian. Fortunately, though, the rest of the day just got better.

Last night, 2 of the kids from our Shelter came home waaaay past curfew, and in doing so broke their word to try harder at following the rules. With a couple of the more senior social work staff away, it fell to me to be the bad guy.

It's a role I don't enjoy at all.

But by the end of the day, both of the boys were able to sit with me to talk about what they'd done and why it was wrong, and we had a chat about the concept of trust. Let's see if they can rise to the challenge.

The Blue Dragon centre was full of life and activity. Today kids could join in rollerskating and swimming (not at our centre, of course! It's a bit smaller than that!), and one of the staff took some children with disabilities to see a movie in a cinema.

It was also Haircut Day, which is always a lot of fun. Once a month, we invite some hairdressers to our centre to offer free haircuts to kids and staff; someone always ends up with a mohawk or shaved head. But there's no surprise in that - take a look at the guy in charge of the haircuts!

That's him standing, with the black shirt and the... well, how can I describe that hairdo?

His name is Kien, and our kids think he's the greatest! I'm just glad he's no longer sporting the orange mullet he had last time he came to the centre!

Upstairs, a volunteer was running a workshop for kids on animals, with a focus on extinction. They watched Jurassic Park and then learned about Vietnamese native animals which are on the verge of extinction. This is a very hot topic right now, with the recent revelation that an extremely rare rhino killed by poachers in central Vietnam was probably the last of its kind in the country. The kids were really interested in learning about this and enjoyed the hands-on lesson.

Our centre also held the monthly gathering ('sinh hoat') in which we acknowledge all the kids' birthdays and achievements. Unfortunately I missed the whole thing! I was off at a hospital visiting one of our kids from outside Hanoi.

The little boy, named Tung, is having surgery to reconstruct his left hand. When he was just a toddler, he had a terrible accident which burned his hands and feet. Because his family never had the money to have him treated, he's grown up with awful deformities and limited use of his limbs. Two years ago, we brought Tung to hospital to have some corrective surgery - I wrote about it here - but there's still some more to be done.

Today I visited him with Tuyen, who coordinates one of our rural programs, and it's clear that apart from being in great pain following last week's surgery, Tung is also bored out of his brain. And he has 3 weeks left to go before he can return home! Tuyen will go back to the hospital in the morning with a supply of comic books for Tung, and some newspapers for his equally-frustrated grandfather who is staying with him in the hospital.

Nghia's shop is getting close to opening; I dropped in on him as I rode home tonight, in the midst of a huge rainstorm. Well, now he knows which bits of the roof leak, and I guess it's best that he finds that out sooner rather than later....

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