Vivi is back in school after the holiday, and I am browsing through the photos from our trip to Vietnam. Its taking me a while, because I outgrew my hard drive, and really screwed up "moving in" to a new one. My Lightroom catalog is half empty and I can't figure out the problem. I have not lost the photos, only the catalog. Hopefully I'll get that tackled and then on to the fun of posting photos and telling some stories!
Before my organizational problem arose, while still in Vietnam, I blogged about the fortune teller we met, and her predictions for our futures. That same rainy, rainy day in Hue, we visited the Duc Son orphanage, which is run by a Minh Tu, a famous Buddhist nun. We had heard about this orphanage, and the good works it does, from fellow travelers. I had also read an excellent article about the orphanage. I wanted to see the orphanage in person, and make a donation.
During our short visit, we were treated as honored guests. Minh Tu, the nun in charge of the orphanage, sat down to tea with us while we talked and asked her questions about the facility. It was impossible to ask all that I wanted to know, because of language differences. Although we did learn a little about the orphanage, I do not know any of these facts in great detail and I am not even certain that I understood the translations. But here's what I do know:
- The orphanage houses houses about 200 children of all ages, though that number is fluid as new children arrive regularly.
- The facility is not involved in adoption programs, so children that live here usually stay until they reach adulthood.
- The nuns aim to give the children a good home and educate them (often in handicraft trades) so that they will be able to support themselves once they reach adulthood.
- All children go to school.
- It costs about $1,500 USD per year to feed, clothe, house, educate, and attend to the medical care of one child.
- It is a place of love.
I was very moved by this short visit and I have since been reflecting on the purpose of the visit and what I gained. Since we have been home, I have been researching the orphanage online and have a bit more information, including this moving piece and a photo essay from a volunteer who spent a month working and living with the nuns and children at the orphanage.
"This is quiet work, the children are the flowers, we (nuns) are the water and you are the sun... There are three kinds of nourishment that these flowers need to develop- phyisical nourishment from food, mental nourishment from an education, and nourishment for the soul that comes with giving love and affection. These children are all missing a piece of their heart without love from their parents. There is a hole, like a hole in the ground. But we can all work together to fill that hole. I (Minh Tu) am the first to throw a rock into that hole with the love that I give. If we all bring forth some love, if we all throw rocks into the hole as well, then we can fill the empty space that exists."
quote courtesy ahimsa photography