It was a childhood dream of mine to volunteer overseas one day. I've been working as a nurse for five years. As I was bonded, I had no choice but to complete the bond first in order to achieve my dream. As I wanted to do something new and go out of my comfort zone, I chose to be involved in the Working With Children Program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
I was posted to the Ky Quang Pagoda Orphanage to help out with the care of disabled children. I learned from the local team that most of the children suffers as a result of the Vietnamese war that can still be seen until today, i.e Hydrocephalus children. 70% of the orphans are disabled either physically or mentally, therefore needs an extra care which they couldn't have been able to provide enough without the help of us volunteers.
When I first saw the children, I felt nervous, whether I could perform well to take care of them. As a nurse who worked with adults previously, it was my first time working with disabled children. Most of the time spent were to walk them or push their trolleys around, do some drawings and play games with them. When it's meal time, I helped to feed them as well. I took quite some time to learn how to tackle their eating habit, and once I got it the daily routines became more and more enjoyable. These activities might seem very simple to some people; however without us volunteers it could have been a huge difference to the children's development.
Volunteering isn't just mentally challenging, it is physically challenging as well. Carrying, assisting the staffs in lifting the children and walked or pushed them around made me sweat a lot each day, yet at the end of each night I would be smiling looking back at each day's value that I have earned. My life motto has always been "One Smile A Day, Keeps All Negativity Away". I believe I have managed to draw some wonderful smiles during my volunteering days not just on the children's face, but the local staffs as well as fellow volunteers. It was a truly amazing experience.
On weekends I was able to enjoy the local attractions and coffees in some of the districts. I am a coffee lover who visits the country which happens to be the second largest coffee exporter, hence it is a must to try out the cafes in town. I also celebrated my birthday in a lovely trip to Mui Ne with my sister who also joined the same volunteering program.
Coming here to volunteer also gave me a chance to get to know fellow volunteers who came from around the world such as France, US, Canada, and many more. I'm glad we shared common interest in humanity and trying to maintain it by bringing positive vibes representing our own countries. I believe that volunteering needs no verbal language to understand each other, we need but kindness and compassion to join our hearts together to lend a helping hand to make the children's life better.