Helen Ledwick And Paul Brickles – Jan 2012

Our experience has been wonderful from start to finish! We heard about Allambie through a mutual friend and were keen to meet Suzanne and the children whilst visiting Vietnam. We were a little anxious at first, wondering what we had to offer kids with such a wide age range. We needn’t have worried!

Suzanne met us for coffee before we visited the house, as she does with all the volunteers. She explained how it all came about and how things are going. We told her more about ourselves and before we knew it we were invited over for lunch!

The children were so open and friendly right from the start. Chuyen, the youngest, took a real shine to Paul, playing cards, demonstrating Kung Fu moves and being his delightful, active self! Thiet was ever the gentleman. He showed us his music composition and over the next week or so worked with Paul to make a digital recording of it. The girls were so smiley and friendly and we all giggled a lot during our time together.

I mentioned before that we were a little worried about the difference in ages but they are such a close knit group and work together brilliantly well so it was really never an issue. They would vote on what they wanted to do that day and the decision was readily accepted by all! We had great fun taking them to the cinema, bowling and the zoo. We organised an British-style Sport’s Day in the park, with 3-legged races, egg and spoon races, wheelbarrow races and more.

Mung and Truc introduced us to the Vietnamese boy band, V Music, and made us smile by jumping up and screaming at the television whenever they came on. We were also treated to a memorable evening with the older kids, who took us to eat the best of Saigon’s street food. Sa, Nhi and Thiet took turns pedaling us around the city with our eyes closed as we dodged in and out of the motorbike madness. Paul did try to pedal Sa, but she couldn’t cope with his terrible steering and banished him to the back. The poor girl was exhausted by the end of the night!

We feel privileged to have met the Allambie family and are completely in awe of Suzanne and the work she is doing. It was such a pleasure to get to know the kids over the course of 10 days or so and we were sorry to say goodbye. We would have gladly set to work with whatever needed doing – housework, errands, but nothing was asked of us other than to hang out with the kids and that was no effort at all. Thank you! We wish you all the very best! Our personal blog is here: http://www.brickwicks.co.uk/?p=984