My own week started in Hue, where Blue Dragon is fighting against child trafficking. However, I was there for a different purpose: I was catching up with one of the street kids from Hanoi has been... well... 'recovering' in Hue for the past few months. He's a young guy (let's call him "Minh") who has a good heart but was finding himself in all sorts of difficulties in the big city, so headed to the quieter environs of Hue to work and study. The change has been fantastic for him.
Despite the fresh start, Minh has been having some difficult times, and as it was his birthday I went down on a surprise visit to spend a couple of days with him.
Back in Hanoi, much of the week was taken up with meetings, supervising the renovations and construction of our new centre, and planning for the BIG MOVE on September 15. We even transported our first truckload over, although renovations have a few more weeks to go.
This new centre is a great step for us. After 5 years in our current centre, we've well and truly outgrown the building and need a whole lot more space for all the kids. There are so many facets of our work that we either didn't have, or were very small, 5 years ago. The new centre should be big enough to see us through the next 10 years. And thanks to some skillful negotiations by my staff, the landlord has agreed to not increase the rent for the whole 10 years that we will be there!
The end of the week saw one of our friends, a 20 year old named Hai, undergo heart surgery. Hai had a stroke some months ago, and on investigation doctors found that his heart had an abnormality which needed to be corrected. As I write, Hai is recovering from the operation, which took almost 10 hours on Thursday night.
Blue Dragon's main role through this has been to provide guidance and advice for Hai and his family. Before coming to us, they had not been told that Hai needed to exercise in order to recover some strength from the stroke: they believed that no recovery was possible.
Hai, in the trendy green hospital outfit, with his cousin.
They were also expecting to wait until February for the operation to take place, even though there has been some urgency about correcting the problem quickly. Our staff were able to help the family, who have no experience of Hanoi bureaucracy, navigate through the hospital system and get much better care for no extra cost.
While Hai had his surgery, 2 Blue Dragon staff set off on an operation of a different sort: looking for a young woman who was trafficked from Vietnam into China to be sold as a bride. The young woman is with them now, but they are still a long way from home so I can't say much. Until they are back, it's hard to rest. Every such trip has an element of danger, and while this trip has been relatively simple so far, I'll be very happy to see the 3 of them safely home.
And to top the week off, Hanoi delivered up a typhoon on Friday evening. Fortunately it has worn itself out sufficiently to allow us to get back to work on Sunday with a meeting for all of the families of the children we work with in Hanoi.
As always, there's much to hope for. More news to come soon.