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Published: April 3rd 2008
Okay - I’d like to thank all of you for tuning in - and being part of this journey with us.
I must admit that it is hard to sum things up with a conclusion of sorts when this trip really feels more like a beginning than an end… but, I think a story would best convey how I feel today… so here goes…
While in Ba Chuc (the side trip we took to a very impoverished area to try to dispense food, but couldn’t), we were quietly leaving the very dramatic monument in the town when a group of women came up to us - they all wanted to squeeze Helen - touch her face, feel her arms… Helen, as usual, smiled and allowed this. Our group, in the meanwhile, was getting closer to our vans and farther from us. One of the women took Helen’s hand and walked over a small ramp toward her fruit cart. I was following, starting to worry a little. The woman put a small mango in each of Helen’s hands. This kind of peddling had happened several times during our trip - people would put their wares into my children’s hands -
and then turn to me for payment. So I took the mangoes from Helen’s hands and returned them. I bowed my head slightly - and said “no thank you” - holding my hand up like a stop sign and tried to walk away. I felt a little vulnerable -- just me and Helen now surrounded by a group of venders. The woman repeated her actions - putting the fruit in Helen’s hands as we walked over the ramp. At this point, I thought I’d best just go along with the transaction and catch up with the others. I pulled out 20,000 Dong (the equivalent of a little more than a dollar) and handed it to Helen to give to the woman. And this time, the woman bowed her head - and held up her hand… she would not accept the money. She just wanted to give something to my daughter.
(Take a minute to think about this).
This gesture will stay with me more than anything else I saw, heard or did in Vietnam… it confirmed for me in no uncertain terms ... that the human spirit is genuinely generous, that people from all walks of life desire
connection with others and that everyday kids can build hope --- because I know first hand that everyday people make a strong foundation to build upon.
Thanks for staying connected! Your support has meant the world to all of us.
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