End Of The Year Luncheon
An end of the year luncheon. I was excited to see the girls again, in their own home: their own element. These four girls had been rescued from being sexually exploited, and are now living in a One Body Village home. Here they learn to live together as a family, sharing responsibilities, and also to become educated. After the trip to Vũng Tàu, we were invited over for lunch to celebrate the end of the year and the coming of the next.
We arrived by motorcycle, and were greeted by warm hugs and big smiles. Like good hostesses, the girls offered us glasses of ice water to cool off and fussed over turning on the fans and lights. Although to an outsider this may seem inconsequential, to me they exemplify some of the life skills they learned living here at the One Body Village home. Kim, Mỹ Kỳ, and I then headed into the kitchen to see what was on the menu. Yum!! Spring rolls, fried chicken, fried fish, steamed fish, a salad, and fresh fruit… a feast! We joined in to help with the preparations. Side by side with the girls I found myself slicing and dicing fruits and vegetables. Each girl was eager to lend a hand, whether it was setting the table, making the nước mắm dipping sauce, cutting fruit, or frying chicken. They were so proud of their contributions; each excitedly gushing about which part of the meal was their responsibility.
In addition to helping out around the house, the girls attend school during the day. I was overjoyed to learn one of the girls was top of her class the previous semester. She was the oldest of the four, and much more withdrawn in comparison to the others. While her friends jumped, sang, danced, and laughed she often was more reserved and quiet. I later took her aside and congratulated her personally on her academic achievements. I wear a small rosary on my wrist made of crystal, a gift from a close friend. I slid it off my wrist, and placed it in her hands. Then, I closed her fingers around it, telling her how proud I was, and how I hope she continues to pursue her dreams and study hard. Next time I come visit, I expected to hear more good news! A big smile spread across her face as she in turn slid the rosary onto her own wrist and gave me a big hug. I hope she puts it to good use.
When food preparations were finished, we sat down together at the table, prayed, and then feasted! The food was delicious. After the food, lucky for us, there was entertainment. As I had learned from the previous trip with the girls, they all love to sing. Together, they performed songs for us. I distinctly remember them singing a song that truly touched me. The lyrics of the song spoke of being abandoned, orphaned, and asking: “will you love me? Will you share your love with me?” The lyrics seemed to be written just for them, and my eyes welled up with tears.
Download slideshow bài hát Đứa Bé – Little Child
I quickly looked up at the ceiling and blinked them away before anyone noticed, so as not to dampen the mood. I would later find out that I wasn’t the only one in the room fighting back tears. It is truly a moment I will never forget. These girls aren’t asking for much. They are fighting for their bright futures, and only need your love.
Will you help us be their voice?
Who am I?
My name is Maria, I am twenty-two years old, American born, and Vietnamese – Chinese in heritage. I am here with One Body Village to see and experience firsthand the plight of these girls. How was the day at the beach? Oh, it was freezing, cloudy, and windy outside… but I went for a swim with the girls in spite of it. How could I say no to those sweet pleading eyes? I shivered, and turned a little blue, but it was definitely worth it to see the joy on their faces. We had water fights, and covered a couple of them in sand. I hope that there will be many more good times to come for these girls.