Bucher - May 2020 – May 6th, 2020

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Since mid March we have been staying physically at home on a lovely rental farm property.  We have a beautiful view across the valley of farm land with a pond and lots of places to walk during this extended time of staying at home.  We have accepted offers from younger neighbors and relatives to pick up groceries. Due to pandemic concerns, Esther postponed the cataract and glaucoma surgery of the other eye. She continues to monitor her heart and lung challenges with on-line Dr. Consultations.

Vietnam and the window in our world to life there continues.  We remotely support the home therapy program in Vietnam. This involves reviewing videos therapy staff have taken when they visit the homes for therapy.  I, Paul, spent some time this month learning to do some simple editing to pick out shorted clips and added some text to help explain how the activities are helping the children with their special development needs. Here are some links to a few videos of some of the children:

1) nguyet-small1Therapy staff Dung with 14 year old, Nguyet: Slowly and with much repetition this young lady is imitating and vocalizing word responses. She is pleased with verbal praise and one can see her positive reaction with Dung.  Three years ago Dung was shy and hesitant to try out therapy techniques but she now demonstrates natural skills with children and families in need. See 1:31 min video here.

2) ngan-small1Therapy staff Y working with 14 year old Ngan: Ngan initially seemed unable to follow directions and requests. But over the past year she is able to balance better and use both sides of her body.   When wearing sandals with back straps in her home, her balance and reach is better. Notice her hopping on 2 feet, tossing and placing a ring.  Any activity and progress will continue slowly with consistent repetition. See 49 sec video here.

3) khanh-small1Three year old, Khanh is working with therapy staff, Vi.  Khanh seems eager to please others but has very low tone and has difficulty completing many motor tasks.  He is seen here positioning and balancing himself from a seated position to stand.  He always looks for another’s approval.  His mother’s guidance is important during these sessions.  He is beginning to nod his head and make a vocal sound for affirmation.. See 1:43 min video here

4) chanh-small1 Thi Thao, a therapy volunteer is seen working with 18 year old, Chanh who has the ability to learn to use a tablet computer and access the world via a keyboard and internet.  Two years ago he was given this device and uses it for connecting to the larger world.  He uses a manual wheel chair but needs a new one.  Brakes, foot plates, and proper seat height and cushions should be added.  Another question is could he benefit from an electric chair to get around his wider world? See 43 sec video here

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5) As one of the therapy staff, Hoai is interacting with 8 year old,  Bao An in his grandparent’s home.   In the background, we can hear the cheering voices for Bao An’s steady progress.  He understands much of what is asked of him and his smile often indicates his choice to do the opposite of what is asked of him! Positioning is so important for his ability to function, as pictured in these videos. See 1:22 min video here

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6) Huong Thao, a therapy staff is working with 14 year old Danh.  Danh benefits from simple and repetitive tasks and shows progress over month and years’ time versus weeks.  His learned helplessness is difficult to change since he receives attention from his family.  But, he has demonstrated ability to follow through with self-care and self-awareness skills. See 1:55 min video here

In the spring of 2020 MCC was recruiting for an OT therapist but has had to postpone for a year due to lack of visas and supports with Vietnam not allowing any new foreign workers for now. We have agreed to continue in a pro bono capacity for another year of remote support. Esther has been taking several online OT continuing education courses this month which are focused on how to do therapy remotely, something suddenly being done everywhere.  We encourage you to support MCC. Some of MCC’s normal fundraising activities like Thrift Stores and Relief sales have been closed.

This past weekend we were blessed with an Enneagram Mapmakers podcast where Marian Gilbert, a PT, and somatic therapist was interviewed about her work of integrating the somatic physical body insights to the established psycho-spiritual aspects of the Enneagram. This really connected with us as in the past decade Esther has been studying and practicing biodynamic cranio sacral therapy in somatic focused groups.

The beginning of May, Pi, our daughter-in-law did an online art show opening. It really helped me to understand her own journey more and to appreciate the art pieces of hers that are on our walls. I find her very articulate in describing the meaning for her of the abstract visions that are grounded in a realistic multistage process of discovery and design. I learned to appreciate the archival, water-proof methods used in her collage art medium. Link to a video recording of Pi’s Art Opening

We have taken over the guest bedroom to spread out our letters, journals and pictures we had stored before we left for Vietnam. We both have started reviewing our growing up, dating years and our first time in Vietnam during the war when I did my alternate service 1970-1974. It keeps us humble but grateful for the many family and friends who supported our development. There are many adventures we forgot about or remembered with a rosy lens.

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In December and January we spent about a month in California with our children and their families.  Now settling here post a wonderful time of celebrating 50 years of  marriage we recall these living and loving opportunities.

Paul and Esther

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