Tran Thu Thuy
Save the Children in Vietnam
May 4, 2016
Moved, thankful and hopeful. These are the feelings that still remain with me after returning from my trip with two of our sponsors to Lao Cai province of Vietnam to visit their sponsored child, Vuong.
It was a sunny morning when we reached Nam Lu commune, in Muong Khuong district. The tiring 50 kilometer journey through winding, rough mountain roads was forgotten as soon as we arrived at the primary school where Vuong, a little girl of the Nung ethnic minority group, is studying. To our happy surprise, Vuong, with her father and a few friends, welcomed us with a melodious performance of traditional songs and dances. Despite this energetic greeting, when we first sat down in one of the classrooms to talk, little Vuong was so shy that I had to focus all my attention on hearing her soft voice, so that I could translate what she said to the sponsors.
After that, I was so moved to see the two sponsors taking every opportunity to break the barrier between themselves and the children. They joined Vuong and her classmates in an exercise to prepare learning materials for the new school year, and in cleaning the playground. As the day went on I could see they were achieving their goal. It looked like taking photos together, with Vuong and her friends, was the most exciting activity for both the sponsors and the children, and left them all smiling. There seemed to be no more language or cutural barriers between them, I felt, once they were all laughing.
Besides talking with Vuong and her friends and family, the sponsors also took some time to speak with the teachers in Vuong’s school to better understand the particular challenges facing their community. “I didn’t expect that children here had such a difficult life,” the sponsors told me, almost in tears. “After this visit, I understand more about children’s lives in this area. I really hope that my contribution, together with the community and Save the Children’s efforts, will help the children here have better conditions for their development and a better life,” they shared.
Due to her limited Vietnamese, as many of the children in the villages where we work do not speak Vietnamese as their first language, Vuong didn’t talk much. Despite this, you couldn’t miss the feeling of happiness and pride in her eyes. The frequent smiles flashing across her face revealed all that. At the end of the visit, I could see that both the sponsors and Vuong felt much closer to each other. Before the sponsors left, Vuong drew a picture of herself in her home. “I hope that when my sponsors see this picture, they will think of me,” Vuong said.
I bet any Save the Children staff member would wish to be in my position at that moment, so that they could see how happy the sponsors were when they received the picture from her and heard what she said. Special moments like these make all our hard work worthwhile.
The visit came to a close but the images of affectionate glances, strong hugs and joyful smiles from both the sponsors and the little girl are still very vibrant in my mind. I’m sure they will follow and inspire me day by day, urging me to bring more and more smiles to the children of this mountainous area, in Lao Cai.
We know not all of our sponsors will be able to visit their sponsored children, but if you are we encourage you to make the trip of a lifetime! Making that face-to-face connection with someone you know only through letters and kind words is such a unique and powerful experience, and will surely never be forgotten by you or your sponsored child. Contact our Sponsor Visits team today for more information at ChildVisits@savechildren.org!
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