A Day of Service

— Written by a Teacher in Vietnam —

Villagers Waiting For Instructions
Today we were invited help some friends who work with Orphan Voice (www.orphanvoice.org) to distribute goods to an area that was hard hit by the recent typhoon. They delivered two truckloads of rice, noodles and blankets to the Quang Ngai District- about 105 Kilometers south of Da Nang.

Getting ready and unloading the trucks.
We started at 6:00am this morning to load 2-tons of rice along with with many many boxes of noodles and blankets. There were many helping hands, so the loading when pretty fast. Around 7:00am, began our three hour van drive to the distribution location.
This woman was so sweet.  She just came up and held Kristen’s hand.
A few weeks ago, Orphan Voice sent a few people down to the area to work with the peoples committee and the local government to develop a criteria for who would receive assistance. Tickets were then distributed to the people in need that would allow them to come and receive a gift on the distribution date. Each household received a 10kg bag of rice, 2 bottles of fish sauce, two blankets, a mosquito net and a box of noodles.
This is what much of the drive looked like.

We arrived at the distribution location in a very rural part of the country. The people were already gathered and waiting. The donations were intended to be a short term response to the damage that the typhoon cause to their village. There was major flooding that destroyed many crops and it will be another 4-months or so before they can begin harvesting again. Also, many of their homes were flooded and all of their belongings washed away.

We were greeted with many different faces. Some looked inquisitive, some sad, some confused, some smiled and some just watched from a distance. All of them were beautiful. A few elderly ladies just walked up and held our hands. Their faces looked so gentle yet so worn.
The children came to see what all the excitement was about.
The distribution process began. Tickets were collected and people received their items. All went quite smoothly. A couple of children discovered the empty boxes from the fish sauce and began collecting them to play with. Every looked pretty happy. We wished we were able to talk with the people.
Boxes make great toys!
It was hard going into an area like that just for a short period of time and delivering goods. It is difficult for me to make sense of the imbalances in the world. They hardly have any belongings or enough food to satisfy their stomachs, yet I am able to write this letter on my computer and in just a few minutes we will meet some friends for dinner where we will be able to eat whatever we want.
I think it made me want to give more of myself. It is great to give a gift – and the people there definitely needed the items they received, but I just longed for a relationship to go along with the giving. Sometimes I think I am afraid that they will only see us as rich, gift-bearing, westerners.  But, I guess there is only so much you can do.  I was thankful for the opportunity to help out.
During the distribution, this lady put the little boy inside of a box.  It was cute.

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