Monday, April 23, 2012

Hospital Visit to Nga

The middle school’s Student Council has been giving back to the community in various ways this school year.
One major outreach activity we have been involved with is Grace's Cookies... a non-for-profit that a woman from the United States began a few years ago. She has been living in Ho Chi Minh City while her husband works here and wanted to be able to do something to keep herself busy and give back to the local community. She decided to do something that she knew how to do... bake cookies... sell them (and have others sell them for her -- such as us!)... and then donate the money raised to a large organization which collects money to pay for life-saving heart surgeries needed by Vietnamese children whose families cannot afford it.

We have had a few Grace's Cookies fundraiser days at the middle school and recently raised enough money to sponsor a child's heart surgery!

Last week a group of us were able to go to the hospital to meet the 4-year old boy who received the heart surgery with our money. Not only was it amazing to meet this little boy but it was also wonderful to see exactly where our fundraising money went to in real life.

Nguyen Van Nga is a 4-year old from the Mekong Delta and has Ventricular Septal Defect. His father is a fisherman and his mother stays at home to take care of him and his sister. Nga's grandparents live with the family as well... so there are 6 family members who depend on the father's income alone. Nga has needed this heart surgery for some time but the family could not afford it. Last week, Nga and his mother traveled to HCMC for the heart surgery and were able to return home about a week later (the day after our visit).

We brought Nga a bunch of toys, books, etcetera with us on the visit. He was quite shy at first but reached right for the stuffed teddy bear that Teena brought!

He did begin to play with the new toys and soon, he opened up and had a huge grin on his face. We laughed, played, ...and none of us want to leave. He was a little chatterbox by the end of our visit.   :)

Not only has the AIS middle school quite literally saved a child's life... but this child is incredibly sweet and deserving to be saved (isn't every child, though?!).

Nga has never held a crayon, marker, or any kind of writing utensil before. He loved the crayons, markers, and coloring pad that we brought.

He also loved the stickers!!

Teena, Tony, and Annie made a beautiful card to bring with us as well. The man from Heartbeat Vietnam explained the card to Nga's mother, since she cannot read.

The front of the card says, More than 1,000 cookies. 200 students. 1 heart.

Our middle school students at AIS are amazing!

The experience of visiting Nga in the hospital will stay with us forever. How true it is… what a difference a few cookies can make.

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