Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Just Look at Us Now!!!!

Reaching Out,  the social enterprise where we began our volunteering in Vietnam six years ago is celebrating its 14th year! Founded in 2000, the early years were a struggle, but through the diligence of Le Nguyen Binh and his dynamic wife Mai Thi Kim Quyen the business has blossomed.

This staff photo was taken just the other day. Not all of the now 70 strong staff are pictured here, but the size of the team speaks for the expansion that has happened over the years.

You might be able to spot four Western faces in the crowd.Annette Ellen and her husband John are to the left rear and Bruce is in the rear on the right. I am squatting on the right.

It was a festive occasion and we were thrilled, along with Annette, to be honoured as volunteers with bouquets of flowers and a little gift. Annette is from Australia, a Human Resources specialist. She preceded us as a volunteer but remains a friend of Reaching Out and Binh and Quyen, returning often to Hoi An.

Our work continues this year with more long term planning, writing correspondence, interviewing.

We often eat with Binh and Quyen at their home with their two delightful boys, Sesame and Gao.

Gao is a very sweet 2 1/2 year old. He snared the first noodle in this picture.

Sesame at 10 years old is still an avid reader and Lego fan. His spoken English is excellent.

I try to pitch in with the meal preparation but a lot of it is a mystery to me. Vietnamese food is lovingly prepared, and at Quyen's house it is always with fresh ingredients.

We have also had our first meeting with the lovely Phuong from VAVA (Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange). So far the recipients of the micro loans are paying back their loans faithfully and their small businesses are thriving. We will visit a couple of them soon.

This meeting is taking place in our wee house. The heat keeps us inside during the day. We are blessed with an air conditioner! But there is also the ocean a few steps away where we are enjoying swimming in the early morning.

We are well...eating wonderfully flavourful and light food, cycling and swimming, surrounded by loving "family" and friends and loving being useful in our old age!

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you have settled in wonderfully to your second home in Vietnam.