Thursday, January 10, 2013

A happy return

Fourteen year old Dat ran away from home 3 months ago.

Living in a remote rural community far from the city, he had long dreamt of the bright city lights; and with his family being very poor, he wanted to earn money to help them get out of their difficulties.

And so back in October, when Dat found himself getting into some trouble at home, he decided to take the leap and head to Hanoi.

Many kids come from rural areas to the cities expecting an easy life. There's a lot of wealth in Vietnam's cities, but the reality is that there are very few opportunities for poor people to 'make it big.' Wealth is for the wealthy. Kids like Dat have almost no hope of finding a way to make good money here in Hanoi.

And so Dat ended up begging on the streets, sometimes selling trinkets, and living from day to day. He slept under bridges and in trees, learning to camouflage himself to avoid trouble.

When he met Blue Dragon's Outreach workers, he jumped at the chance to have a safe place to sleep, and some warm clothes; but Dat was terrified about the idea of going home. He missed his mum, dad and sister, but knew he had done the wrong thing by running away, and dreaded the consequences.

After a month of caring for Dat, he finally agreed to try going home - but only on the conditions that our staff went with him, and brought him back to Hanoi if he decided to return.

Yesterday morning Dat and Blue Dragon staff headed off at 5.30am for the long drive to his home, way up in the mountains. Thank goodness we have a car and GPS - Dat's home was extremely difficult to find, and getting there required some serious 4WDing!

The result? Another beautiful reunion. Dat and his mother were in tears the moment they saw each other. All of his fears evaporated in an instant. And no, he didn't want to go back to Hanoi; he just wants to stay with his family and go back to school.

Dat and his sister in their family home

Unluckily, just yesterday Dat's dad made the journey to Hanoi to look for his son; so while Dat was heading home, his father was going in the opposite direction. There's a good chance they passed each other on the road! But he was hugely relieved to get the call saying that his son was safely home.

Blue Dragon staff having lunch with Dat's family

We're very happy to have this great start to 2013 - as are Dat and his family. Here's to hoping we can help more kids like Dat this year.

No comments: