Monday, October 27, 2008

To Market To Market

We are always so impressed with how industrious and creative the Vietnamese are! Pictured above are only a few of the many products that we have seen on the backs of bicycles and motor bikes. on their way to market. If you click on the picture you will see a larger version of these quite spectacular feats. How the riders manage to stay balanced with such heavy loads is miraculous. Equally amazing is that the take home pay for these loads is only pennies a day. But they are undaunted, repeating the exercise 6-7 days a week.

When we are in Hoi An, we feel obliged to try to match these Herculean efforts, but we are merely 60 something Westerners, softened by the luxuries of our lifestyle. We rise before dawn, it's true but by mid-afternoon we are ready for a nap! Perhaps we should be working on our "staying power", getting fit for longer days of toil!

We are working here at home our projects for Reaching with Binh on a new Business Plan and creating an Employee Handbook for the sales staff in the shop. Our attempts at learning the language are still rather futile, and we will have to remain dependent on the help of others to translate for us and the patience of our Vietnamese friends while we pantomime our intentions.

Despite our limitations, we are buoyed and looking forward to our Journey of the Heart 2009.

Please Note: There is a new feature on this blog. On the right hand side, at the top, you will see a small picture. It changes every few seconds and is our slide show of this year's trip. If you click on the picture you can enjoy the full screen show. Once you are on the album site, watch for the slide show icon which appears above left of the picture. I promise, I will replace this show with pictures from Journey of the Heart 2009 as soon as they are available!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What a Difference!

Remember this little guy? Last year he was our "poster boy" for our appeal campaign. Vinh was so dear, enchanting us with his bravado on a mouth organ which he had never seen before, while soliciting the help of a buddy to take care of his prized A&W Root Bear! He was the first in line to get his face painted.

This June, Bruce saw a very different little boy. The next picture shows him not only having grown like a weed, but also showing off his skills on the keyboard.

What a difference a year makes! And what a difference the gifts of funding and equipment mean to Vinh and the others in this orphanage!
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Duc Son Orphanage

One of our favorite places to visit in Hue, Vietnam, is the Duc Son Orphanage. This photo was taken on Bruce's last trip there, with Tours of Peace in May of this year. The young man with him is Anh, the tour guide who has been a faithful TOP partner for many years.

The Buddhist nuns at Duc son, care for up to three hundred children. Although our hearts break that these delightful children have been abandoned by their parents, we are comforted to see them so well cared for and loved.

The atmosphere at Duc Son is vibrant, the children are all clean, healthy and well fed. TOP has visited regularly over the years and so our visits are anticipated with much excitement. This picture is a rare moment of quiet, before the bedlam which erupts when the toys are brought out

There is much singing, by the children and the TOP delegation. We paint faces, play musical instruments, play circle games and hold a lot of babies and toddlers.

The big treat for the kids is the dinner that TOP presents, including meat, which the nuns do serve the children if the budget allows, but that does not happen often....the food budget is 30 cents a day per child.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2009 Return to Our Beloved Vietnam

As the weather cools here on the West Coast, the leaves begin to turn and the garden takes its last gasp, we are beginning to anticipate our next Journey of the Heart.

In January 2009, we will travel to South East Asia, to once again serve the people of Vietnam. Our appeal for funds has generated such a response, that we are inspired to work even harder to alleviate some of the suffering in this small country still suffering form the centuries of conflict within her boundaries. With your support we will be able to accomplish more than we had anticipated.

Not only have our friends and family offered funds, but this year we will be accompanied by other Canadians, who also are intrigued with the beautiful country of Vietnam and her welcoming people.

  • JoAn and Michel Maurer will join us for our first two weeks. We will travel to Laos together and on to Hoi An, Vietnam.

  • Stan and Marie Teitge, our neighbours, will be in Hoi An for a few weeks and look forward to helping with our projects.

  • Sharon Brewer, another Salt Springer, will arrive in March to help out at a child care centre.

Brenda Smith, from Essex, England, will also arrive in Hoi An to add her willing hands and loving heart to our projects and is likely to help Catholic nuns deliver rice to needy hospital patients. In Vietnam, family is expected to feed their relatives in the hospital....some are unable to do this...they are too poor or live and work a distance away.

How wonderful that the Canadian ( and British!) contingent is growing!

We hear regularly from Le Ly Hayslip of the Global Village Foundation, with whom we work to deliver portable libraries to remote village schools. Binh and Quyen at Reaching Out have a "to do" list growing for us to tackle when we arrive in Hoi An. The 2009 Journey of the Heart promises to be as busy and rewarding as our earlier trips.

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