Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's time

... Time to go!

I plan to pack my bags this afternoon, at the last minute as usual, while the taxi is outside beeping for me.

Tonight I go to Saigon, and then on to San Fransisco. And then on to the sail boat!

While I am away, Blue Dragon's Arts and Theatre coordinator, Skye, will keep this blog alive by posting news of the kids. It may be a couple of weeks before I have internet access again.

Saying farewell to all the kids is incredibly difficult, but it's a selfish sorrow that I am feeling. Right now the kids at our center are doing amazingly well. And they will continue to do well while I am away - it's just that I won't be there to see them...

We've had some good news about funding in the last week or so.

World Vision is looking quite likely to continue the support of our Step Ahead program, and they have also offered a small grant to pay for school text books for over 300 kids.

And the New Zealand Embassy has offered to support our legal advocacy work - which means we can really make our work more professional and organised, and so reach many more children in need.

The NZ Embassy has also confirmed that it will fund a proposal by the Disability Forum to develop training packages and resources for staff involved with disabled youth. Blue Dragon will work with the Forum on the implementation of some parts of that proposal, as we have a HUGE need to develop our abilities in that area.

This is all exciting news, but there's more...

On Monday of this week, three of our kids started at a new school.

Most Blue Dragon kids attend a local charity school, which is OK, but as time goes by more and more of the children are aspiring to go to university. The charity school just doesn't have a high enough standard to get them there.

So Chinh, Hue and Can have started studying at a private school, a few kilometers away but only 20 minutes by bus.

Chinh and Hue are brother and sister; they were both forced to leave home in the countryside after their mother died and their father remarried. Chinh was shining shoes when we met him. He's one of the smartest, funniest, most likable kids I have met... And his sister, although much more shy, is a beautiful soul too.

Can is only 12 years old, and he is one of the kids we rescued from child traffickers a few months back. He's another very bright boy - after just a few days, he's thriving in his new school environment already.

Every now and then I meet somebody who tells me that I am wasting my time with Blue Dragon: street kids are lazy, dishonest, sneaky, stupid.

But as I set off on my sailing adventure I am already thinking about my return to Vietnam, and to the children's center. I am already filled with excited anticipation - what news will await me?

What progress will Hue, Chinh, and Can have made?

Which university will Hoang be enrolled in?

How many more children will have their births registered, so they can be officially recognised by the government?

But first, I have an ocean to cross.


Mosher said...

I'll be leaving Hanoi myself in a few days once I get plans sorted. I can only say it's been a complete pleasure to work with yourself, the crew and - of course - the kids.

Every one is a star in their own right, and anyone who thinks street kids are lower than low should take time out of their own lives to visit and see what an amazing job you're doing.

I will stay in touch. I will check in regularly. And I will pester as many people as I can to donate and spread the word about what you're achieving.

There is also no doubt in my mind that some day I'll come back to visit Hanoi and the Blue Dragon kids.

It's been an honour to help!

Telli-Deli-Starfish said...

Hey Blue Dragon-
I'm Telli Deli Starfish!
Do you know how to add more to your blog once you've saved it? Pease write me back!

I'm also half vietnamese. My dad came over from viet nam during the Viet Nam war with his family When he was 7!