Archive for May, 2016


April 2016 – 1. May, 2016

Click here for link to April Photos:
img_0840Our entrance way welcomes with a “mediteranean mural” and live flowering plant and the view from our upstairs window of a mellow sunset are part of our setting.  Other surprises have included rides on our motorcycle to the nearby beach settings, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends.  One weekend we took off to the larger city of Quang Ngai for an overnight and then were hosted and taken to the island of Ly Son, famous for its garlic production and of course wonderful seafood.  Another weekend we took time to visit Dr’s and Dentist in the big city of Danang.  This city is quite large and has more international presence. We traveled to and from on a local “reclining bed” double decker bus which had a potential of ~40 places but had about 8-10 passengers each way!

The days have moved along and we are now into a working routine as the temperature moves gradually into the mid 90F/ or low 30C. We often feel limited by what we can explain in Vietnamese as we have no translators or persons who speak English.  Today, April 18, I, Esther, am returning to health after a bout of some sort of gastro discomfort which hung on for a few days.  My Vietnamese friends say, “It is my age reacting to the heat i.e. my system is not accustomed to the heat”. I am hoping I will be able to go back to the center and work tomorrow.  We have been grateful that illness has not visited us very much these 1st 6 months here in Vietnam.  So, what would you like to hear about from our world here?  Thank you to each of you for remembering us and keeping us connected by calls, emails, Facebook, and messages.  We also love the ability to call via use of the internet and our Vonage Phone.

Our last letter to you we were just getting started at the center.  After observing for several weeks, I began treatment time and work with each of the “patrons”.  I am gradually creating a treatment space with treatment objects, a planned place for swings and suspension points which will provide variations of sensory input for each person.  We were able to find a local person to make the swings to Paul’s specs and also soft floor mats which can be placed as needed.  Much of my desk time was spent on designing a form for screening and assessment in Vietnamese with the help of Google translate and our language tutor. My own critique of the form does not allow me to call it finished.  Being able to work one on one with the patrons and be shadowed or facilitated by one of the staff is my greatest joy and gives me peace.

Our days begin around 5 or so when we do some stretches, eat breakfast, and dress to go to work on the cycle.  We suit up in helmets and jackets for dust protection and cross a few roads to the center which is actually walking distance from our house.  We often go for “coffee” with the director which is a ritual to beginning the work day and often includes some work day exchanges.  All of this happens before 8 AM.  “Coffee” can mean Vietnamese Coffee, Ginger tea, Lipton tea, iced coffee, iced milk, iced yogurt, and sometimes squeezed fruit juices or fresh fruit with ice and yogurt.   All of this of course includes lots of language practice time since no one speaks English.  Around 11 or so we have lunch at the center with some of the staff.  Food is prepared for the patrons who number around 12 or more and after they eat we eat and head home for a “siesta”.  The midday heat makes this rest time precious and rejuvenating.  Around 1:30 we return to the center until 5 PM.

Two afternoons a week we stay home and study language with a tutor.  Our tutor is a man in his 60’s who is a retired friend of the Center Director.    Two afternoons Paul leads an English class for the staff and a few other students and I help by standing by with support and another native speaking voice.

I think that being without any other persons who speak our language or are from our cultural perspective is one of the most challenging aspects of life here for me.  I greatly treasure the conversations I can have with family and friends via phone and facetime simply to add to my conversation and life.  On the other side, we have been so amazed and blessed by the way our paths have been included into the lives of others.  We now have found a person who works part of three days a week to do some cleaning and cooking, and marketing.  She is the mother of one of the children with disabilities who comes to the center daily. Her calm and caring person are a gift to be around.  And she has been able to serve meals which we both enjoy.  Gradually, we have been free to try out some brief drives around the countryside.  The beauty of this country is breathtaking!

I ask Paul, what would you add to this? He says for now “I am teaching English and supporting you.”  This is true and has been a super role as I would not be here without Paul’s presence.  May each of you be well and feel the amazing care of the one who envelopes all of us everywhere and in everything.

Click here for link to April Photos:

Peace and Love,

Esther and Paul

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