Things are still well in Cao Bang. I have an overwhelming amount of work to do in these next two week, not the least of which is finishing two proposals for our next phases of our project, so I really don't have much time to write – nor anything very interesting to say, unless you like conversing about logframes, budget narratives, direct and indirect beneficiaries, Gantt Charts, stakeholder forums and management hypotheses.
I didn't think so.
So instead, I'd like to take my weekly space in your life to share a story written by one of our confidential hotline and internet counseling service counselors…the words are in their original translation from Vietnamese and I hope this will give you glimpse into the work that one of our components does on a daily basis. So may I introduce Phuong who will tell you about her daily work:
I am a counselor working Confidential Hotline and Internet Counseling (
This is a story about an eighteen - years - old girl living in Cao Bang.
Client: Chị ơi! I'm very sad. I feel myself worthless/useless. I can't do anything, even I can't wash my face, my body, …by my own without my mother's help. I really want to die. (
Client: Chị ơi! Today, some children who are living in my hamlet ridiculed me as a "crippler". I 'm very sad. I only want to die! (Dec. 27, 2004)
Client: Chị ơi! Why do all family members disregard me. They show no notice/attention to what I say. Is it because I am a disable person, not go to school and I'm their burden? I only want to die. Can you tell me how to die quickly? (Dec. 31, 2004)
Client: Chị ơi! I'm very miserable! There's no one beside me now. Everyone works all day. There's only me with a T.V as a friend. Can you give me a little bit of your time to talk to me? (May 12, 2005)
Client : Chị ơi! Today, I just composed a very beautiful poem. I'll read to you and please give your comments! (July 13, 2006)
Those are some of calls to Tu Van Tuoi Hoa from the girl. Not lucky as other people, she was disable child from birth so it's very difficult for her to move by herself and she can't do anything, even the personal task (like brush tooth, wash face, go to restroom, etc.). She didn't go to school as other children at her age. From very young, she has been living in feeling of inferiority complex about her situation. She really feels miserable when the children at same age as her call her crippler whenever they see her out of her house.
Every day, her mother go to the market (to earn money to afford the family), her brothers and sisters are studying away from home. Her parents were divorced and her father married another woman. So, she stays at home alone and makes friend with a TV. She feels sad because nobody understands her thought and listens to what she says or shares her thoughts, dreams, things she like or dislike, etc. Life in her eyes is so boring, she only want to die to save herself (as she is thinking)
One day, when she was watching TV, she heard about Tu Van Tuoi Hoa in the advertisement. From then on, she keeps calling to Tu Van Tuoi Hoa. At the beginning, she showed herself as a pessimist and always talked about death. Sometimes, she even tried to eat paper, she didn't have meal or she hit her head against the wall, etc. to hurt herself.
With the girl's situation,
When having someone to talk to, listen to, and show the sympathy with her current situation, she feels like she is still meaningful /valued in this living and her sorrow is eased. From that, she feels happier and gains the belief in life.
After many days, many months, Tu Van Tuoi Hoa become her close friend, we share her knowledge, experience in life. She no longer feels her life is useless and finds out that there are several things needed to discover. Up to now, she is happier. She can compose poems, songs by herself when inspiration appears. We also share her joy and happiness.
She wants to invite Tu Van Tuoi Hoa counselors to come and see her at her house. We visited her house and witnessed her living. Looking at a smile on the face of a small disable girl who moves difficultly when she saw us, we feel very happy. Although, we didn't do any specific thing for her but we did partly help her get out of her hopeless feeling.
Editor's Note: these stories are a bit dated; the girl in the above story continues to be a regular caller and contact of the Tu Van Tuoi Hoa counseling hotline, but as a friendly contact only. She is studying Chinese and our counselors still regularly visit her and take her books and things for her studies.
That is the story about a disable adolescent. The following story is about another adolescent. Even the second girl is not a disable but she also has a miserable/pitiable life.
She was a 15-years-old girl studying in a Middle School in Cao Bang town. When she called us, she was very sad because she was off school for days. The reason why she didn't go to school was her stepmother was upset at her, yelled at her and said that she didn't allow her to study anymore and she would tell the school about that. She thought what her stepmother had said was true, so she didn't go to school for 4 days. When her friends in school talked with her, she knew that her stepmother didn't go to school to tell the school. She really wanted to return to school but she didn't have enough courage to be back.
Her life now is very miserable and unhappy. Her parents were divorced when she was very younger. Her mother got married with another man. She lived with her father. Soon after, her father had a new wife (her current stepmother). However, not longer after her father was serious sick and died. Because her stepmother treat her so cold (didn't show her care at all), so she hurt and she lead a very sullen life. She always sank in sorrow and had a complex feeling among her friends.
When hearing about her situation, I really moved. I wish I were a fairy and had magic like in a fairy tale. So, I would help her dream - having a happy life come true.
We know that we couldn't have magic but we were happy because after receiving our counseling, she had more positive eye for her life and accept her situation. She studied hard to overcome her current situation. She really want to attend the extra-class (out of the school class that teacher provide students to help them consolidate their knowledge or provide them more lesson/exercise) to learn more knowledge but no one asked the teacher for her. She asked help from Tu Van Tuoi Hoa if we could do anything for her to attend the extra-class. And of course, we didn't refuse such a meriting request/demand.
Although our help was very small compared to what she has experienced in her life, but we felt more pleasant when we can bring her a very small but very useful support.