Monday, January 7, 2002

Day 4: Mission Peace Kids

I have to stop using superlatives to describe how well things are going this trip. There just aren’t enough good words to do the job.

This morning we had a party for 39 students who are or will be part of the Mission Peace Kids program. We will match each student with a student in America and they will communicate by letter, email, and video to share their cultures and personal information with each other. It is my hope, by bringing together youth from different backgrounds and cultures we can make the world a smaller place where people can find it easier to live in peace because they have formed personal relationships.

The students were all at the hotel by 8:30 a.m. Their teacher lined them up in twos and marched them into the meeting room.  The room was filled with smiling, cuious faces (both children and parents). The meeting began with introductions and Ammamarie and I were presented with welcoming gifts. We explained the Mission Peace Kids program and opened the meeting for questions.

The students spoke suprisingly good English and their questions were very interesting and demonstrated their voracious appetite to learn about America. Several of the students had prepared songs to entertain the group. The songs were in both English and Vietnamese and all were very well performed. More questions followed the seranade and the Mission Peace doctors were introduced. More questions – then the party ended about 10:00 a.m. Following the formal meeting, refreshments were served and we had the chance take pictures and mingle the students and their parents. Annamarie and Barry gave small presents to all of the children, and I supplied the Tootsie Pops.

Dr. Lien-Huong arranged for a tour bus to take everyone on a visit to Soc Trang. Everyone had a great time visiting a snake farm and several temples. It was a good chance for the doctors to relax before surgery starts tomorrow. I stayed behind to catch up on my journals and process pictures. I didn’t mind missing the trip to Soc Trang. I had been there before and didn’t relish anther bus ride.

Tomorrow the surgery begins and we visit Tan An High School, Hoa Hau resturants, and Vi Thanh Orphanage in Can Tho.

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