Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A week at Blue: Wednesday

Hanoi's heatwave is here to stay: there's been no let-up all week. Our drop-in centre remained full all day, but by this afternoon the kids were so quiet that from the offices upstairs you could hardly hear a sound.

Each day for the last few weeks our social workers have organised activities - mostly involving swimming! - but today there was a real sense of "lets just lay here under the fans." Our centre is intended as a safe place for the kids to hang out, as most don't have very decent places to stay; so we're happy for them to just come, have a shower, and relax.

In the afternoon, a social worker named Chau ran a 'life skills' workshop on co-operation. The kids chatted and played games, all on the theme of how working together makes things easier. They were also pretty pleased when the plates of fruit came out at the end!

One of the games the kids played: 2 children sat back to back, linked arms, and had to stand up.

Here's the group attending the workshop. The girl in the foreground is translating the class to her friends who are deaf.

Away from our centre, we have heard that the boy who was arrested on the weekend has been released and has returned to his countryside with his mother. Seems to me that that's about the happiest ending we could have hoped for. Now if he can just learn from this...

The young guy with the prison sentence hanging over his head hasn't come back to see us! It's a bit strange, considering the gravity of his situation, but he knows where to find us if he wants to. Our philosophy has always been to offer the best possible service we can, and it's there for those who want and need it. I still think he'll be back in coming days, but I'm a bit confused as to why he's taking so long, and why his mother doesn't seem interested at all in getting some legal advice.

I mentioned yesterday that one of our teens, named Nghia, is preparing to open a new mobile phone shop. He spent today working along with some Blue Dragon friends to get the new premises ready, and as I write he's moving all the equipment and furniture from his old shop.

A very happy Nghia!

One of the Blue Dragon staff, a cleaner named Cuong (pictured below) helped out too, especially with fixing up the VERY shonky electrical system.

Apart from all these activities, a good chunk of my day involved preparing to take three of our older teens to New Zealand. The National Technology Institute in Auckland has offered them full scholarships, and Jetstar is donating free flights - so we really feel like we've won the lottery. The kids don't go until September, but there are many arrangements to take care of in advance.

And I haven't mentioned this previously, but I usually finish off my days at the Blue Dragon shelter, just a few doors down from our centre. Sometimes I eat there with the kids, or else just take part in the daily meeting that they have. It's a nice way to end the day, and to stay in touch with the kids despite the mountain of admin that usually piles up on my desk!


Van said...

I love the way you end of your working day ! Seeing the kids before home and surely that they are always there...

Liz said...

Michael, you and your team do the most amazing work! It is so important for people to help each other and to help kids is the best thing! How I wish this could be translated across the whole world.