My impression of Vietnam.
Hello again to everyone back home.
Robert has asked me to tell you what I have witnessed here in Vietnam.
The weather is generally hot, humid, and dusty. Small motor skooters
and bicycles scurry about the streets in massive numbers. There are
open sewers which drain directly into the river (so much for seafood).
The streets are lined with vendors, all hoping they will make a sale
today. Through out the country poverty is prevalent. A television,
bicycle, or motorbike is a luxury. Most of the people we have worked
with are the “POOREST OF THE POOR”. They are so shocked by your
generosity that many times they do not know how to react. I find the
people here to be extremely friendly, and very hard working. Almost all
of the children know a little English like “Hello what your name, where
you from”. Unlike many other third world countries, I feel very safe
here (if you are careful what you eat). There is little or no visible
There have been numerous extremely moving moments. Seeing
the kids before and after surgery. Witnessing families receiving
structurally sound homes for the first times in their lives. Watching
the kids in the orphanages receiving a small gift or toy. I can not
tell you how it feels to have 20-30 kids swarming you, looking for
nothing but a little affection. I have witnessed many things during my
30 years of police work; none have touched me nearly as much as what I
have witnessed on this trip. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who
questions the need here. I have hundreds of photographs and memories
that I will never forget. I hope I can some day share them with all of
is a very mentally and physically draining activity. Every day we leave
at 8 am and work until about 6 pm. know it will take several days to
recover when we return home.
There is a lot more work involved in
giving help to poor people than you can believe. There is a tremendous
amount of planning, co-coordinating, and book keeping that is involved.
The reward is in the faces of the people here. I have seen it every
day. Just look at the photos.
Robert is especially encouraged by
this trip. “Giving It Back To Kids” is getting well known here. Last
Thursday in Tien Phouc after visiting a vocational training center
where G.I.B.T.K. and Children of Vietnam (C.O.V.) had previously
donated 15 sewing machines, we were taken to lunch at one of their
finer restaurants. I noticed two small children waiting outside with
their parents. The word had filtered thought the hamlet that G.I.B.T.K.
and C.O.V. were in town. Both children needed life saving medical
procedures. Their information was taken and hopefully we will be able
to help them. It is very hard not to say “yes” to all the kids in need
but we must stay within our budget.
I have met several amazing
individuals here. First meeting Ben Wilson, the founder of Children Of
Vietnam (our U.S. partner), was worth the trip itself. Mrs. Huong is
Ben’s project manager and she researches and verifies that all of the
requests for help meet all of G.I.B.T.K’s and C.O.V.’s guidelines. I
have also seen Robert in a different light. He is a man on a mission,
full of dedication and dreams.
What more can I say? A LOT
Robert Kalatschan : 3/12/2004