I’d been in HCMC for about eight months when I thought about volunteering. I searched the Internet and came across Allambie. I was really taken in by the videos of Suzanne and the different children. I got the impression that the orphanage was warm and personal.
After meeting Suzanne for coffee I was invited round for dinner to meet everyone and see how the orphanage functioned. There was a real family dynamic with each day thoroughly planned and all the kids having their own chores. The atmosphere at Allambie was very inviting, the kids taking advantage of our lack of Vietnamese to crack jokes behind our backs.
During my time at Allambie I spent most of my time with Chuyen. As well as teaching him some English we would go out every Saturday afternoon to see what fun could be had. This often resulted in me attempting to keep up with Chuyen at rollerskating, and failing miserably. Perhaps my favourite thing to do was to go swimming with Chuyen and Long. It was great to see Chuyen swim his first length and then throw them both around to the annoyance of the lifeguards.
Christmas at Allambie was also great. Long got so many presents he could actually bury himself in them. And Suzanne cooked an amazing Christmas lunch. Boy, did it hit the spot.
I had a fantastic time at Allambie over the months and would like to thank all the guys who made it so memorable.