Archive for May, 2017


May 2017 – 2. May, 2017

Click here for a link to May Photos


We were invited to share with the small house church we were involved with in Richmond on a video conference call.  We reflected on how alone we sometimes feel without other English speakers in our work and social circle and no local faith community to share with. We do keep our minds and souls challenged with meditative readings and on line daily emails from Richard Rohr. These meditations reinforce that it is not what we do or how proficient we are in the Vietnamese language that counts, but that we are open to listening with many senses and letting love flow through us.


We are still glad MCC works through partners and as such VAVA who we work under has responsibility for most of the administrative aspects of running a project. Still we are included when reflecting on lessons learned and changes to propose for next year. MCC fiscal year just ended.

Esther hopes to include more training for staff next fiscal year for the home therapy and establish a baseline of supervision with individual therapy at the center before sending staff back out for on site therapy.  The use of smart phone video and photo capabilities has really helped Esther understand what staff are doing as has frequent visits along with the staff to homes. Parents and siblings/neighbors were participants in the homes and it was great to see them reinforcing/encouraging the disabled children. Some of the younger children were more comfortable in the home setting and more active in playing than at the center. One highlight was having the older girl who reportedly was kept locked in her room with her sicks to protect herself from strangers, come join us in the guest room and sit down beside Esther. And after a short time she put her one arm around Esther while still holding on to her two sticks in the other hand. These are grace and love moments!

Working out the procedures for getting premission to actually visit family homes has been the biggest accomplishment of this past year. In addition to the home therapy visits, Paul was able to visit about 50 family homes along with staff both pre and post the families receiving a cow as part of the cow bank distribution. The visits reinforced that these families really are in need and that most of them already have experience raising cows and that cows are a way to save up long term capital to inprove the family  financial outlook.


The second planting of the garden has been much more successful than the first. The center hired an experienced gardener to prepare and plant using mature compost and lime.  It has been great to see the staff harvesting vegetables every morning. Sometimes I get a chance to help weed in the afternoon.


We recently received a copy of Luke Martin’s book, A Vietnam Presence a history of Mennonite and related partners work in Vietnam from 1954 to post 1975.  Since we were also with the Mennonites here from 1970 to 1974, we knew many of the people mentioned or had heard about them. It takes us back in time to process our feelings of helplessness to end the war’s destruction. It tells of our mutual efforts and questions and yet also tells of administrative efforts at international mediation and care for those in need regardless of their politics that we were not aware of at the time.

It was great to recently reconnect with Max Ediger, one of our former co-workers in the 70’s. He led the regional MCC Retreat in Siem Riep Cambodia. He is still working in the area leading interfaith peace and reconcilation workshops.


The home therapy was held on weekends and we have not been so good about taking comp days right away.  We took a short break to the two proviences south of here last month.  Next month we are looking forward to getting to see our grandchild, Forester at half way point for us. This month Esther hopes to meet another OT she learned about who volunteers in Da Nang. In July she will attend an OT conference in Australia to get some continuing education credits needed to maintain her licensure in OT.

Click here for a link to May Photos

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