Five years ago, Zak went on his first work camp when he was 9 and Zoe was 11. We were a small, shy family, recently going through a personal situation, looking for a meaningful event to escape.
I was often conflicted with Vietnam, since the only memory I had was an 8 year old, fleeing for my life in 1975, trying to escape the war. Thus, my efforts of reminding my children of Vietnam was lackluster.
So when I took my children on SM’s 2012 work camp, there were very few expectations. The kids stuck with me for the first few days, sitting next to me on the bus ride, painting quietly on the same walls. On the fourth day, they abandoned me and hung around with their new fellow volunteers. Being the youngest in the group with NO Vietnamese, my kids had no choice but to interact and after they saw the local kids’ bare-bone living conditions. Seeing how these students were eager they were to learn, Zak and Zoe blossomed.
Initially, I naively thought we joined the work camp to help these kids (how egotistical of me)…and in fact, they helped my family. Full circle with the 2017 work camp, Zak is now 14 and Zoe is 17 years old. This is our 3rd work camp and my kids “specifically asked” to go this year. And a mother’s dream, they asked me to teach them Vietnamese so they can do a better job of work with the kids at the robotics workshop.
Sunflower Mission is….priceless. The love and generosity go beyond the work camp. It bleeds back to the states, where the SM family often takes care of each other selflessly. If you can’t tell by now, we are true fans.