The Swing

The Swing

Earl, husband of Board member Barb Quist, wanted to make something while he was at the Center. He found the perfect project–a swing! Phap scaled the tree like a monkey, lassoing the rope around a really high limb (~20′ high). He just wrapped his arms around the tree like in a hug, and worked himself up. The kids absolutely loved the swing! It was a really wide pendulum trajectory!

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The Dentists Continued

So today we learned that they did a total of 10 extractions on 6 children. And the average number of fillings per child was 3-4. Here are photos of their amazing set up!

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The Barbeque

Just when we thought the day couldn’t be even better, it was! Everyone from BBW went to the market but me (Cynthia)–all that raw meat and fish in bowls everywhere just overwhelms me. They bought lots of things–vegetables we don’t even know the name of, eggplant, chicken, fish, shrimp, calamari, beef and pork ribs. Then we had the most delicious (ngon lam in Vietnamese) food ever!!

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We had a fabulous evening of entertainment as well! Michael Huy, who is gaining in fame in Saigon, and grew up in Ham Tam, was there with a whole entourage to perform–a magician, dancers, singers playing guitar, ukulele (yes!!!) and a box drum, and Michael’s act just continues to amaze us and he dazzled us with new moves this year! Afterwards, I got to jam with the 3 musicians, two of whom are in 12th grade, the other 21. They were quite good! And harmonized too.

And it was Barb’s birthday. The kids did this most spectacular, fantabulous birthday surprise ever. They led her in the dark to the library (which earlier in the day was a dental clinic, now transformed into an amazing birthday celebration). There were lit red candles on the floor in the shape of a heart, they had her step into the middle, streamers went off, sparklers, everything! It was so friggin’ awesome that we all started crying in joy along with Barb. Then we all sang Happy Birthday about 5 different times, a different way each time. And she had not one, but two, birthday cakes. I’m not a cake person, but these Vietnamese cakes are to die for! The icing is like heaven in your mouth.

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Lunch at the Center

IMG_1644The older children and the nannies (including former ones) made an amazing lunch for all the doctors and BBW volunteers! We had a sweet and sour soup, a local fish, squid with greens, noodles, rice, crab, snails. Unbelievable. A truly amazing gourmet meal. And we were all so hungry! The kids ate in their space, mostly just soup :-(. And then they took naps!

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The Dentists, Optometrist & Doctor

The Dentists, Optometrist & Doctor

Wow, what a day it was today with the World Health Ambassadors. A team of 12 dentists, 1 general doctor and 1 optometrist arrived today. Quite impressive! In about half hour, they transformed the library room into a dental office, complete with two reclining chairs and started giving fillings and pulling teeth. It was a little assembly line with one person doing a visual exam of the teeth, deciding which needed to be pulled and which needed fillings.

For fillings, they went to the reclining chair, got topical novacaine, and the fillings began. BBW served as the professional hand holders for all the children and even the adults–who were all quite nervous!!

For extractions, you went outside, sat on the little porch, a dentist gave you shots of novacaine, then started hammering and pulling away. You would spit your blood into a plastic garbage lined pail, where they would put your tooth and the bloody gauze when finished. No biohazardous signs here!!

Some of the kids tried ducking it out, especially when they watched Anthony having a really hard tooth pulled out and saw how much pain he was in. My heart really went out for these kids and I realized what a baby I am when I go to the dentist. One little boy needed 8 fillings! One older child needed 3 extractions. Needless to say, pain meds were part of the day too. Thankfully, soup was made for lunch!

3 of the kids need glasses, which we were surprised was so low, and one needs a test for glaucoma, as he shows signs.

This is the very first time these kids have seen a dentist and eye doctor, and in some cases a doctor. We get the report tomorrow from the doctor. What an amazing day. And it’s not over yet. Tonight is the barbeque! The WHA team packed up and went to a Senior Center for the rest of the afternoon. They will join us tonight at the barbeque (if they haven’t fallen over from exhaustion!).

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Art & The Fruit Party

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Here we are, finally, in Ham Tan at the Children’s Center. Art is always such an icebreaker. Thanks to Rozane and Catherine who donated art and money to buy more art supplies–these kids were having a blast. And this year Rozane also donated a bunch of games which were a big hit! The power went off, so we have no photos of the fruit party, which was all done by iPhone flashlight held up by Earl, husband of Board Member Barb Quist. He was the tallest and he did his job proudly!!

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