Sunday, September 26, 2010

A week on the north island

For the past week I have been on New Zealand's north island; mostly in Auckland, where our three boys have started their courses at NTEC and are off to a flying start.

The oldest boy, Chinh, has started a diploma of business management; the two younger boys, Son and Khanh, are studying English and in a few months time will join some hospitality courses. They're on a real high now: the teachers are amazing, the students are friendly, and they are learning LOTS.

Our biggest challenge now is to secure sponsorship for their homestays and living expenses, which has turned out to be rather difficult. I'm leaving Auckland on Monday, but will have to keep working on this as it's rather urgent!

While here in New Zealand, I traveled to Wellington for launch of the Blue Dragon Children's Trust (New Zealand). The event was hosted by Wellington College, and we had a terrific turnout for the start of what should be a pretty dynamic and exciting organisation.

I caught up with some great friends there and spoke at the Harbour City Rotary Club before heading to Taupo, where Chinh studied English last year. I was only there for about 24 hours, but spent time with his former homestay family, who have remained in close contact with Chinh, and was able to thank the school where Chinh studied. Incidentally, while I was in Taupo we had the news that Chinh's IELTS test results had come through: he scored a 6!

Visiting New Zealand has been fantastic, and I am already planning to get back here next March. But for now, it's just about time to pack my bags...

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