In the evening we went to the movies to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. Two big cabs came to the shelter to pick us up. There were 10 girls, Linh and I. The girls were impressed with my dress, as I never wore dresses to our classes, but today I decided to dress up for them. We came to the CT Plaza, walked through the luxury mall and finally took the elevator to the 10th floor to the cinema.
The movie started and we all entered the world of magical Wonderland. The girl who sat next to me was squeezing my hand, as we both were scared of the “bad creatures” jumping into us. Our seats were very close to the screen so it felt like the stereo effect was even stronger. The girls were laughing and talking when they watched funny moments of the movie, as it was there first time experiencing 3D. I thought that I had 11 Alices with me – sincere, kind, generous, beautiful inside and out with rich imagination. I want them to stay that way and have happy lives.
We took pictures outside the theatre and went back to the shelter. As I was sitting in a cab and listening to the Vietnamese music, watching the lights of Saigon at night, I realized that I finally see the city the way locals see it. Linh and I walked to the store to get some cookies for the girls who didn’t get to go to the movies (as they go to school in the evening). There are 18 girls in total at the shelter. We came back and chatted with the girls, ate cookies, then took more pictures. And there came the hardest moment, when I had to go. I gave them all hugs, including Miss Yen, and asked them to promise to write me letters and send pictures.
As I was leaving the shelter on a motorbike, I felt sad as if I was leaving my own family. Deep inside I was crying… Now I know what Carrie meant when said that those street children in India stole her heart. Though sad, I was sure that it is not the end of our friendship, as we will keep in touch… I’m leaving them now but I will be present virtually, and keep helping them with learning and life questions as a friend and mentor.
The next morning The Saigon Times published the following on page 7 http://english.thesaigontimes.vn/Home/lifestyle/charity/9408/