one of the most interesting parts of vietnam was in kon tum, which is about halfway up vietnam, inland. there are apparently six orphanages there, so dai, myself and three more westerners went looking for one of them:
kon klor II, kon tum. the kids were so excited to see us, we bought them loads of sweets and cakes. shyly, one by one, they'd come and get a sweet from us, but they would never take more than one except a small boy who grabbed three or four. he was quickly told off by one of the older children (aged about 11) and he ran up and returned the sweets. it is the older children who looked after the young ones. the children sang for us, played games and gave us drawings they had made.
teresa is the lady who runs the orphanage, she showed us around. it's really sad, there are about 70 children there, about 60% girls because boys are more wanted by poorer families to help work. most of the parents of the children have died, but some are just too ill or too poor to look after them. the children have barely any belongings, they share all their clothes and there are not enough beds for them all so some of the younger children have to sleep on the floor. it was so sad to see what little they had though they all looked after one another and seemed very happy.
teresa has a plan. a kindergarten school on the grounds will cost $750 to build. the school will educate not just the orphans but the kids from the surrounding areas who currently have to accompany their parents to work in the fields.
these orphanages are not funded by the government, or by charities, they run only off donations. we gave them all that dai and i had on us, which was only about $50, although that goes a long way in vietnam. it costs about $15/month to look after one child. after our trip we will donate some more. if you would like to donate any money please email me: email@example.com. and i will pass on the details of teresa. or if you are visiting vietnam, i can give you the details if you'd like to visit.