On the other side of the world, I often found myself at a loss for words.
With no working knowledge of the language, I was at the mercy of my interpreter and the students of Medical, Educational Missions and Outreach to hear the stories of the local Vietnamese. Luckily, the details weren’t lost in translation.
But sometimes, I was on my own.
HUE, Vietnam “”mdash; Small groups of students huddled together, crying.
One woman stormed off with a shriek of frustration.
“It’s not fair!”
The students of Medical, Educational Missions and Outreach had just been given the news that the medical clinics they had planned and looked forward to all year had been shut down by the local government.
The shirtless 17-year-old, engulfed by a mess of bodies and flailing limbs, jabbed his bare foot at a soccer ball pinned between bamboo stalks.
Lanh reached down, grabbed the ball with his hands and booted it upfield with a grin.
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam “”mdash; Defeated, the mother stands in the street with her young daughter.
“I’d like to go home,” the 7-year-old whispers, her tiny arms clinging to a giant stuffed bear.
The mother and daughter had traveled 13 hours by bus from central Vietnam to one of the country’s leading hospitals, only to be sent away by the doctors. Hien Thu Thi Vo’s congenital heart defect would go untreated.
HUE, Vietnam “”mdash; He couldn’t hold back tears as he stood before the group. One man’s whim just put an end to almost a year of hard work and planning and Steven Pham had to deliver the news. The service group’s health clinics had been shut down by the local health minister at the last minute.
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam “”mdash; Inside the iron gates, uniformed schoolchildren line up on either side of a dirt path. In the rural outskirts of the city, 50 students from BÃ¬nh HÃ²a Nam Elementary greet their benefactors, 50 California college students.
Staff layoffs have not been part of UCLA’s own plan to cope with a $96 million budget cut approved in January, but University of California officials predicted that the option will be on the table systemwide.
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