Letters from Vietnam

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

My daughter Katie is on a medical brigade trip to Vietnam with a group of students from her University. Her letters are great and I wanted to share.

Hello mother and father!!

I am in Ho Chi Minh city right now..aka Saigon! We arrived yesterday morning. Today we woke up at 5:30 a.m. to drive 3 hours to the south to a mobile clinic that we set up at an elementary school for the teachers, kids and people living nearby. It was really amazing how poor the town was around the school and how many kids hadn’t seen a doctor or dentist in however long…we work with an organization called ACWP which is Aid to Children Without Parents. They have a bunch of different types of clinics and will sponser kids to stay in school and continue to support them to see that they make it to college. A big thing they do too is to make sure that in the deep south next to Cambodia where we’re going tomorrow to set up a clinic is to prevent the sex traffic of young girls. They showed us a video that they made undercover of girls as young as 5 being sold for a couple hundred dollars to brothels in Cambodia…so scary..so they sponsor girls to stay in school and raise awareness with families living in the south so that they aren’t tricked into selling their kids… The organization are all volunteers and this really cute couple who are Vietnamese but live in the states basically run the organization. We worked with around 10 doctors and dentists who were volunteers and saw all the kids. I worked with a woman at the clinic who is a dentist in Saigon today and watched her pull teeth while I gave the kid a toothbrush and toothpaste after their appointment of terror!! haha…seriously though it was the torture chamber…the poor little kids sat outside listening to the kids inside crying..it was rough! definitely making me question that profession! Another interesting thing today was that many of the kids in these rural villages by the jungles have deformities such as one kid who had two thumbs growing out of one base of a thumb. One of the doctors was saying that deformities in kids in these areas is due to the agent orange used during the war that their parents and grandparents must have been affected by…pretty insane! ..anyway..its about 110 degrees here with 100% humidity…just sitting down outside you sweat all over..I think I’ve taken about 5 showers in the last two days! Our hotel is very clean though and has free internet! How’s everything with you guys??! I miss you already!! I love you so much!! XOXOX!! Katie

To be continued….