Severely Malnourished Children in Lam Dong

Reports by Dung Phuoc Nghiem in Vietnam Translated by Sister Kinh Nghiem

In the area of Lam Dong, in the highlands of Central Vietnam, there are 780 children and in Binh Thuan there are 470 children whose parents are from North and Central Vietnam. This years crops have not been successful for those parents who are farmers. Last year we spent 1,500 Vietnamese dong per child in the day care centers to have lunch and we asked the parents to give 1000 dong. But there are many families who cannot give any money. In the morning the parents bring their children to school and they bring a bowl of rice and two sweet potatoes for lunch. We have noticed that the children do not have enough protein in their diet. Therefore, from October, 2001 we decided to give them twice as much soymilk, i.e. one litre of soymilk is divided amongst every five children per week. The soymilk is made by a student at Phap Hoa Pagoda. She brings the soymilk to every day care center in the area. The stories of how soymilk is brought to the schools would bring tears to your eyes.

Victims of Flood Forgotten

Looking at the Mekong Delta, in South Vietnam, one sees that the houses and fields are drowning in an immense ocean. There are families that are farther down South and for many days they have only eaten raw noodles. The houses are flooded and there is no wood. During the flood in the year 2000, the poor families here had to wait 120 days for the water to recede and to receive assistance from allover especially from families and friends in the United States and in Europe. When they were finally able to have a roof over their heads another flood came.

The water is chest-high in many places. Due to the lack of assistance many parents have had to leave their children in their flooded homes while going out to seek some work. The parents build platforms under the roof for the children to stay on while they are away. But many very sad accidents have happened. As of late November 217 toddler-aged children have drowned. At this time the families who are affected by the floods will have to wait thirty days for the water to withdraw and we are not sure where they can find food during this time. Therefore, a few packages of instant noodles, a bottle of soy sauce, a kilo of rice during this time of need is very precious.

To make a tax deductible donation please send to Green Mountain Dharma Center, care o/the Love and Understanding Program, P.O.  Box 182 Hartland-Four-Comers, VT05049 USA. $5 per month can support one child at a day care center, $25 per month can support one  school teacher in remote areas, $50 can provide a family with a new roof or a small boat in flooded areas. Checks can be made to the Unified  Buddhist Church. All the money that is given goes directly to Vietnam to help those in need. No charge is deducted for transportation, paper work and so on.

Whenever I do anything, I see the eyes of my parents and grandparents in me. My love is the wonderful love of the network of ancestors, parents, relatives and friends born in me. The work I have done is the work of everyone. It is not just my work. As you read these lines and know that, in a remote area of Vietnam children who are severely malnurished are receiving funds, you can see that act of love as the collective work of thousands of hands and hearts. Sister Chan Khong (Sister True Emptiness)

Every moment of love and every act of giving can bring about a great deal of happiness, if we know how to love and to give in this spirit. If we can give without waiting for anything in return, without expecting any special treatment, then we have a great deal of happiness and freedom Thich Nhat Hanh

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