Vicky and I arrived in Vietnam on a humid day in early June. Greeted by the beautiful Suzanne, we were taken to a local authentic Vietnamese restaurant. Being a fussy one with food I was pleasantly surprised on how tasty it all was. Suzanne went through how the orphanage works and the amazing adventure she has been on to get there. She also gave us a background of all the wonderful children she looks after.
The next day we were picked up by the standard mode of transport in Saigon … motorbike. Helmets on, and fiercely clinging onto Mr Lee we were driven through the crazy streets of Saigon where there is no need for traffic lights just a street wise head. We arrived at a beautiful housing area, which had an extremely relaxed and safe feel to it and were warmly greeted by Nhi who was immediately friendly and helpful, then Chuyển an enthusiastic young boy who showed us around and introduced us to the other children Mung, Truc and Sa.
You could instantly tell this home was one of love and fun and that the children were genuinely happy. We were given a tour of this beautiful spacious and light house. Each child has their own space, a proper bed and bedroom where they are free to express their personalities and interests. There was also a study room and a large balcony, it was inspiring to see how much Suzanne had achieved in making this not just an orphanage but a home.
We were taken to the local food markets to pick up food for lunch and dinner. This was a refreshing experience, and we really felt like we were seeing the real Vietnam. Chuyển encouraged us to try a sugar cane drink which was delicious. Suzanne and all the children joined in cooking a delicious lunch, the children taught us to make rice paper rolls and we all sat round a big dining room table and had a big feast. The children often made personal jokes in Vietnamese to the humour of mum Suzanne and their English guests. The jokes were soon on the kids when Suzanne made up a game to make them eat their vegetables. I don’t think there was a single moment someone wasn’t laughing. All the kids helped in tiding up without being asked to, they clearly respect each other, their home and Suzanne.
The children took us on a lot of adventures. Mung and Truc took us to their dance class they attend which was brilliant fun, and great to see them have the opportunity to take part in activities they clearly enjoy. We took the children to see Madagascar in the cinema, all in Vietnamese so a very interesting experience for us! We constantly played lots of fun games which often resulted in forfeit dares for the loser. I had to ask a celebrity for their autograph on my hand much to the kids amusement. They gave us “backies” on their bikes and showed us around their city. They took us to the night shopping markets and they were all so kind, protective and enthusiastic that we were there, when we were all shopped out they took us for their favourite street market food, then on the way home we passed a crazy, busy fun fair so stopped for some rides. The next day we took the children to a water park, which was great fun, messing around in the water all day, it’s fair to say we had a non-stop yet fantastic time, getting to understand the city of Saigon and having an overall amazing glimpse into the real Allambie.
Saying goodbye to these beautiful children was difficult because in only a short few days we felt as though we really got to know them and their touching stories. They are such inspiring children who have gone through much adversity but have been given a second chance at life to study and live in a loving family. We left feeling extremely humbled that Allambie was certainly achieving its mission
To create a LOVING SECURE FAMILY HOME, Where each child has one to one ENCOURAGEMENT. To help them look FORWARD to the FUTURE.
Well done Suzanne, were very very proud of you. Keep up the good work and we hope to see you again soon.