Archive for September, 2016


Sept 2016 – 24. September, 2016

Click here for link to September Photo Album:

Sunday September 11th we landed in Danang, Vietnam after having had a month of immersion and absorption with our new grandson, Forester Orion who was born July 23rd in California.  As we mentioned in our last blog to you, our plans were to take our vacation time to be present with family.  And we were not disappointed in any way!  We were able to participate in the life of Forester’s early weeks, hold space for Amy and David as they made parenting a reality, and help with some of the daily chores such as cooking, laundry, and shopping and most of all just holding and being bathed in baby oxytocin!!  Our leave taking to return to Vietnam on September 10 was planned but not easy!


We also were able to journey east to Lancaster, PA for some time with Paul’s dad, who continues to be well and of course aging. He agreed to participate with Paul’s brother and sisters in having an early 90th birthday celebration, for his December 2nd birthday.  This was a true joy to see so many family and relatives come together to honor and show joy for John, Paul’s dad.


Prior to leaving for this month long vacation we were participants with MCC team from Hanoi who came here in July to plan and discuss budget ideas for this current year.  For 4 days we followed along to visit homes with persons who have severely disabled family members. We sat in meetings in the various village meeting halls, visited families who have been recipients of cows from the Cow Bank Project in the past two years, and MCC /VAVA meetings to discuss the pros and cons for rehab and cow projects in the next fiscal year.  We also had opportunity to report on and show the persons from Hanoi MCC our work here at the center over the past few months.  The use of a translator to explain and clarify was very helpful for us.

The week before we left the center was busy with a major fund raising event for the 55th anniversary of the start of Agent Orange spraying in Vietnam on August 10, 1961.  There was a music and cultural program including songs and skits related to Agent Orange. Through out the program as is common here, they announced the names and amounts of donations $5-$50 from individuals and businesses in the town and wider district.  We were amazed at the 90 million collected ~$4,000 US before expenses. This showed us again how there is local Vietnamese awareness and support for the persons who are suffering from the lingering effects of war.

While in the US, my Dad called to tell me about a program he was watching on C-Span about Agent Orange effects in Laos.  We later watched the 90 minute program which told about similar effects in Laos from a secret war but in Laos there is a lack of local awareness and a lack of government and private support. We are thankful to be part of a local organization here in Vietnam with such strong local and government support. Here is a link to that program for those with the time/interest:


Knowing that I, Esther, was going to be gone for a month from the center I was able to create a plan of suggested activities for each patron for the local staff to implement with the patrons in my absence.  This was a stretch for my language but upon my return I see that many of the ideas were used and continue to be helpful for the program here.  Our days continue to be sweat covered, but we are looking forward to some respite when the rains begin – next month.  Humidity of course is high!

Paul has been involved in teaching English, reviewing MCC/VAVA plans for next year and helping with translation of OT materials for Esther’s training classes.

We are missing Forester and his changes each day but knowing that he can know our love and care from a distance. We had a wonderful 20 minute video chat the other day watching him play and talking to him.

Click here for link to September Photo Album:

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