Kien Giang's 3 Schools - December 2006
Below is a brief account of the 3 day trip from chi Duy-Loan who flew back to Viet Nam to attend the completion ceremony of the last 3 schools (8 classrooms total) built by Sunflower Mission in 2006.
On December 8, I left Houston to fly back and spend 3 days in Viet Nam. The main purpose is to attend the completion ceremony for the 3 schools in the vicinity of Kien Giang that SM has just finished: Binh Giang 2 (4 classrooms), Nam Thai (2 classrooms) and Co Khia. (2 classrooms). Mr. Hoang Huy Hoang, the other advisor of Sunflower Mission, accompanied me on this trip along with a large group of our members and supporters from Viet Nam, including 5 engineers from Silicon Design Solutions (SDS headquartered in San Jose with work force in Viet Nam), Seour Ngoc Hoa who heads our scholarship activities locally in Viet Nam, chi Ngoc Lang and anh Hoang who head the construction activities in Viet Nam … and many other supporting members.
I have traveled the world and have seen poverty both in Viet Nam and in other countries such as India and China. But I was not ready for the emotional toll, especially at Nam Thai school. This particular school is located in the New Economic Development region with nothing around. The word ‘nothing’ here means exactly just that: NOTHING. Poverty is one thing but poverty in segregation is something else. One has to see it with one’s eyes to feel the destitute isolation. Words don’t do justice: Seeing it gives you pain, living it is something else!
Seeing the faces of the children reaffirms what I have always believed and that is ‘often in life the difference between success and failure is simply OPPORTUNITY!’ The glee in their eyes, the smiling faces with missing tooth, the giggling laughs, the questions they asked all remind me how intelligent these kids are! Contrasting that with the ragged clothes they have on, the shoeless feet covered in mud, the tangled hair on their heads … and it is a heartfelt sadness knowing the environment these children of ours have to endure day in and day out. Regardless of which of the two sides one focuses attention on, education opportunity can and will make a difference for them.
Perhaps the presents we handed each and every one of them will make a tiny difference immediately in their daily lives: books they can use to write down what they learn, pens they can use to express their ideas, sleeping nets to protect them from constant mosquitoes at night, and backpacks to help ease the load they carry walking every day. In some cases, we handed out some cookies and toys… a luxury they have never seen before. All of this might be a drop in the bucket, a needle in the haystack, a drop of water in the ocean. Nevertheless, the ocean is indeed fuller because of that one drop.
It took 46hrs to go from door to door on this trip and then the next 48hrs engaging with the schools and the kids. There is no doubt that it was a tiring trip for anybody young or old. But if one asked me ‘was it worth it?’. The answer is undeniably ‘YES’. “Thank you” Sunflower Mission for the difference you are making in the lives of these children. “Thank you” all of our supporters and members who made it possible for Sunflower Mission to do what it does. And “Thank You” to the people who made this trip possible and as comfortable as it was for me and Mr. Hoang Huy Hoang.
Board of Advisor