Together with Thien Phuoc ease the pain of agent orance
One time, I visited the Disabled Chidren Caring Center named Thien Phuoc in An Phu Dong, Cu Chi District. I saw of my own eyes the kids affected by Agent Orange wiyh congenital malformations. They have strange appearance. They lay there motionless in the beds with cramp handa and legs and bleary eyes. At first sight, they looked as if they were staring at me. But it was not. Their eyes do not have specific focus. They can not be aware of surroundings. In other words, they are unconscious.
I saw a woman feeding a kd. The kid lying on the bed with tight tied hands because he suffered from encephanlitis and convulsion. His hands and legs were continuosly cramped. He cramps in 365 days. He can not see, speak or walk. The only thing he could do is to swallow by instinct for survival, it was apainful for his parents to bring him in this life. He still exists because no parents can kill their own babies.
I came to a kid sitting on the rug, a boy who loked better than others. I gave him a pack of biscuits. He had no response. I took his hand and put the pack in it. And them I got my hands off. The pack fell down. I felt something missing.
Accompany with me that day were the staff pf Sacombank and the city television. When a reporter was about to ask one child siting on the wheelchair, a girl who sat next to shrieked with laughter. Her name is Le Thi Vui. She was born in 1986 in Dong Nai province. She is orphan. She suffers from epilepsy, suddenly laughed, suddenly cried without reason.
Nguyen Thi Luu, born in 2001 in Cat Tien, Lam Dong provice, who are eight years old, looked like a two year child. She suffered cerebral palsy and flexed her body hard all the times, especially when eating. Sister Nhu said " Before feeding her, we have to give her medicine or she will vomit all the food. She lay there pale with the apparent pain on her face.
Nguyen Thi Nhu Quynh suffered the waterlogging, epilepsy and flexing hard. Lying on the rug, she flexed both hands so hard as if to confront with the torture and to keep her hands not falling off her body. After the convulsive fit, she lay still, pale eyes and exhausted. She just experienced a horrible torture. But she soon was like that again. The pain clung on to her. I did not dare to see her. Her sorrow seemed to go through my body and others’ at that day. Every body just stood still with sorry.
Each child in Thien Phuoc Center is a sorrow. The sorrow from the birth becomes larger and stabs at our hearts. No words can explain such sorrow.
There are 77 disabled children being cared in Thien Phuoc center, An Phu Dong, District 12. Among them, 45 suffer cerebral palsy and the other suffer Down, epilepsy, dumbness, deafness and behavior disorder. The kids who got cerebral palsy often syffered convulsion and muscle flexing. Some flex their hands some flex their hands and legs again and again.
Over the past year, Thien Phuoc center has made a lot of improvements in raising and caring the disabled chidren. Some children who used to lie still on beds now can totter, walk slowly and stand on their feet. They are treated by acupuncture to prevent from spinal degeneration. Those who used to visit the center in the first days must be surprised by its changes in terms of quality. Its facilities are now much better.
Grabbing at the guests
Two sibbings affected by Agent Orange
However, there remain a lot of big difficulties. The demand of caring 130 children is big while funds maindy depend on benefactors. The average expense a month for a chil is VND 500,000. To spend on basis demand. Single the expense for napkins is up to VND 20 million per year and many other expenses must be spent to maintain the center’s activities.
Each child in the center is a patient, a special patient. It requires not only love but also skills to care these children. Thien Phuoc has no doctor to serve them. Perhaps it is too hard to have a doctor because the center can not afford. Even the managing director and vice director of the center are paid VND 1,5 to 2 million/ month. Medicine for the children is especial and expensive. A Sister here said some children like Nhu have to take 30 pill to keep them not flexing their bodies. Each such pill costs VND 5,000 but it is not easy to buy. Only familiar pharmacies sell us but sometimes it is sold out.
Most of the children sent to the center have difficult situations. Their parents live away and do not have enough money to travel to visit them. Caring these children is a difficult tast, let alone helping their parents. This is a great disadvantage for the children, especially disabled who have feelings.
Something they are sad and homesick. They miss their parents very much. If only they got encouragement from their families, the caring would be better and effective.
Let’s help Thien Phuoc center
The question is the center’s resource is limited while the number of children needed to be cared is large. A few years ago, a family thought that their child would not be accepted to the center because it could not afford. Therefore, they left the child in front of the center in Cu Chi. Unfortunateky, the mercy of the Buddha and the love of the God brought about a happy ending. The child was soon found lying there and taken to the center for caring. He was named Phan Van Luom. The name was a remind of how he came to the center. At that time, he was six years old and over 30 kilograms weigh. So people here called him "Big boy”. Phan Van Luon is now bigger than he was being taken to the center.
Struggling against the spasm of pain
A child flexing his body hard
It has been 10 year since the center was set up. In 10 year, single the center in Cu Chi lost 9 innocent children by the Agent Orange. The live of the others alive are alsao faint. We can not leave them alone because there’s life, there’s hope. We are trying uor best to struggle to keep these incocent children from the hands of the orange monster.
When visiting around the Thien Phuoc branches in An Phu Dong, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi and District 8, I felt as if I got lost in the heaven of mercy, the heaven of unhappy children. The children are being cared by the humane hands throughout the country and the world. These hands like the Buddha’s or God’s every hour and every minute are easing the pain of these children and help them to last their survival. Each of us with our love will give blessings to these poor children.
Let’s come to Thien Phuoc and give it strength and together we ease the pains.
Translated from Vietnamese to Engless by Nguyen Phuong Anh