An event last week was typical of the astonishing teamwork. We attended a meeting at Reaching Out, at the arts and crafts shop as well as the tea house. Members of USAID and a delegation of the Asia Pacific Subcommittee of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee visited as part of a Southeast Asia fact-finding trip.
As is often the case, the agenda was not exactly clear, but the RO team were ready and welcomed this group of VIP's with their usual aplomb. We had thought that they were simply seeking clarity about the social enterprise model which has been the foundation of RO's success and sustainability...a way for the disabled to learn marketable skills and earn a living in a society where advances on building access for the disabled are limited. But they concentrated instead on how they might influence the Vietnamese government. Although the laws are on the books they are far from being universally implemented. This was a good thing.
Early evening tea was served in the Tea House garden; a peaceful place to answer their questions.As always, time was short, there were too many questions and too many "spokespersons" but I believe that some seeds of awareness were planted in the minds and hearts of this delegation.
Once again, our Grandson Sesame was along to help with translation. He has become a staunch supporter of our work and is growing into quite a statesman.
Sesame's presence allows us to have more in-depth conversations with our hosts and we are deepening the relationships that we have with them and the residents of this institution. Here we are getting to know Trung, a very caring young nurse. I also had a nice chat with my friend Huynh pictured above.
We spent time talking about our friend Ut who died last year at age 61 of liver cancer. She was a double amputee, having stepped on a landmine when she was 14 years old. Surprisingly we were invited to go to visit her graveside. This we did this morning, guided by Ut's granddaughter.
Bruce proudly wore his TOP cap as he paid homage to this brave lady. You may remember that during Ut's last painful months we, once again with Anh's help, were able to provide Ut with medicine to make her more comfortable. TOP trip participants loved UT and she, them.