“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” –Life’s Little Instruction Book
Really? Is it March already? I cannot believe it!
Last 2 weeks has seen me spend most of my time in hospitals with some children. I took little Lan to Danang – the closest city to Tam Ky (about 2 hours away) with a suspected colon/intestine issue. She is 3 months old and still 4kilos. She not putting on any weight and vomiting and passing blood. She just got out of the local hospital where I was told she was treated for pneumonia. I took her to Danang as I wanted to have her thoroughly checked out and get CT scans if needed, which do not exist in Tam Ky. Long story short, there is nothing wrong with her intestines, all blood tests came back clear and everything functioning well. She is just got malnutrition so we have to fatten her up and get her a proper formula. After being Dr Papoutsakis via google, I would assume the blood was from all the antibiotics they pumped her with at first hospital. I ordered a heart test at the last minute, just because we were here and thought might as well. And I heard a rumour that when she was in the hospital in Tam Ky, she was in for a heart condition, That changed to pneumonia and then that got changed to dengue fever. Which one was it?! Heart ultrasounds came back that one of her valves? Arteries that leads to the lungs? Was narrow and not pumping enough blood and working extra hard.... well that was the best translation I got. I wanted to speak to a cardiologist. So I did and he said that we had to wait until she was at least 1 year old to do anything about it anyway.
The funniest diagnosis I got for Lan, was when we first got there: The Dr took one look at her and said “this baby is fine and she will live a long life... look at her ears!”. Lan has gigantic ears for a baby and here, big ears mean a long life. Thus, he didn’t have to examine her cos she had big ears and so was going to live a long life!
Back in my hood, all is progressing well. I have a retired couple here with me for the next 3 months and are fantastic. I thought i had energy but they surpass me without a doubt. At 65 years old, they have 7 children, 12 grandchildren and are on fire! I did not get out of bed all weekend (jersey shore marathon... could not help myself!) and John is up at 5am, going for a jog, doing exercise in the park! We have implemented a lot of changes and put a routine in place for the placement visits which is working really well and we are utilising our time alot more productively.
In terms of my time, I thought i would come here and relax a little, lead the simple life..... pfffffttttt! Yeah right! Always looking for a challenge I guess....
So for the past 2 months I have been involved in a pretty exciting venture. I have not said anything cos I still have my doubts that I can pull it off, however, we have had some recent developments and I am excited!
We have this vision to be able to give the children more than they are receiving. At the moment, the government budget is $20 per month per child for EVERYTHING. As you can imagine that does not begin to cover the necessities.
We want the children to have access to proper health, nutrition, education – in every sense of the word. I would like to see these kids reintegrate back into their community and society positively. One of the saddest things i heard recently was that our orphan children get teased and bullied at school for being orphans. This broke my heart.
Soooooo... with a help of a few key players, we have been on a mission to start up an NGO here with a US counterpart to pilot our own specific program. Needless to say Vietnam, not very organised and it takes yonks to get anything done or get answers. But so far, I have managed to lead 4 successful meetings. Some of these meetings have been with Unions, The Local Government and prominent characters in the community. Somehow, I have ended up being the key player in coordinating all this; I am Secretary at all the meetings and an advisor to the forming and setting up of these programs. These meetings are slow and tedious because we have to translate everything back and forth.... tis quite an ordeal. But if we can manage to get this through, it will be amazing for the children. At this stage, we have finished our proposal to the government and have submitted a first draft! I am so excited! I know we are way off a victory or getting any of this off the ground but I guess by changing nothing, nothing changes! I have to try and give it my best before giving up on it!
Now, I must get back to reading about business plans.... I swear I will have an MBA by the end of this!