Dresses for all!

Lyn shared this adorable picture from one of her last days at the Tam Ky orphanage. Can you pick out the boy hidden in a dress?20130429-071941.jpg
I only have my guess, but I know his name is Khang and no one batted an eye about putting him in one of the dresses we made. This delights me and is just one of the things I love about Vietnam. It’s definitely a patriarchy, don’t get me wrong, but some of the ideas that are so deeply entrenched in American culture (Boys don’t wear dresses, ever!) simply don’t exist there.

Before I get lost on a tangent, I wanted to publicly thank Lyn for her help in Tam Ky. Honestly, it couldn’t have happened this go-round without her. She was the one that let me know boxes had gone missing. She took photos for me and paid for the import tax on the last two boxes. While the tax was less than $30, it was more than Mrs. Hanh could have possibly paid (that’s about half of her monthly income!). Lyn re-connected me with kids we’d worked with in Tam Ky who are now at orphanages in Hoi An and Phu Ninh. She reignited my passion to do more there and get back to Vietnam as soon as I can.

A new volunteer is coming in June, staying and helping like the Quiltys did, without a volunteer organization to back her. Like many of us who have volunteered in Tam Ky, she is driven to do more. She’ll be my contact for at least one shipment there.

Up in Hanoi, I’ve made contact with Blue Dragon, an NGO that has been around for years helping street kids get an education and training. They’ll be getting more school bags and pencil pouches, along with some clothes. I am not quite sure how all of it will work, but I am sure we can figure it out. Together.

Update on orphans and dresses

Thanks to a lovely woman named Lyn, I get to share these wonderful pictures of the kids in Tam Ky wearing some of the dresses made for our sewing drive last fall. How cute are they?!20130401-230428.jpg

I recently had the chance to talk with the folks at Generation Q magazine and they were so encouraging. Instead of trying to mail a box every month or two, on my own dime, I’ve decided I’ll offer box sponsorship. That way, I can get help with the shipping costs, mail boxes out more frequently and ramp up the sewing once again!


If you’re interested in donating cash for the shipping costs, you can do that through the sponsor button to the left. And if you want to sew or donate materials, send me an email at teresa AT crinkledreams.com.

I really can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has supported this effort and encouraged me to keep on keeping on.


Return to the Tam Ky Orphanage

Two years later, not much had changed. The rainbow on the wall still greeted us, just as it had every day for two months in 2007.
The bathrooms at the baby orphanage. Clearly, it's a storage area, too.
I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be here. Absolutely thrilled to be giving away all those clothes and shoes and toys.
Will it fit you? Who cares?! It's new clothes!!!
She wasn't so sure she liked me. It's a common predicament for me in Vietnam.
Chilling in the doorway; sitting on the pot. Literally.
Stuart with his little buddy, Tu, who was quite happy to see his 'big brother' again after so long. I don't think Tu had grown an inch.
Audrey with the woman who does all she can for these kids--Me Ba. Her vast love for the kiddos here awes me. She is a wonderful, wonderful woman.

We Made it to Tam Ky

Audrey’s towering over Mrs. Hanh these days!

We arrived in Tam Ky this early afternoon to an ecstatic Mrs. Hanh waiting for us at the train station. Audrey has now surpassed her in height, how cute. She got us back to the GVN house via taxi, got Grandma starting lunch for us and headed out for a meeting.


Meanwhile Me Ba came over. She works at the Quang Nam Baby Orphanage still and the head caretaker there; loving and nurturing each child that comes through there. There’s something about her that is so inherently kind and it was wonderful to see her again, weepy at our reunion. The real reason for her visit was the ao dai.

One of our favorite kiddos from the baby orphanage when we were here was Quang, a rambunctious little boy who took to Stuart on our first day here. Every visit they were side by side. Four weeks after we arrived, Quang was adopted and now lives in Florida (near another set of siblings we adore). His mother contacted me and asked me to help get Me Ba an ao dai and through emails, phone calls and the help of several others, Me Ba is now the proud owner of a beautiful gold and black ao dai. It fit her perfect and she looked every bit the beautiful Vietnamese woman.

Me Ba in her new ao dai, with her husband

This afternoon I have to get some pictures printed and deliver nearly 100 pieces of clothing to the kids. We’ve also gathered almost $200 to go toward the kids, but I think I’ll be plunking down some more cash to help out. They have some good programs going for the orphans with extra fruit, a monthly feast and paying the school fees for the kids at the Home of Affection.

If you are interested in helping out, shoot me an email. I can easily get donations to them for the next two weeks (when we’ll -gasp- be leaving Vietnam).

When Me Ba left, she gave me a short lecture in Vietnamese. I understood little–vui (happy), cam on (thank you) and yeu em (love you), but I know she meant well. We were both a bit teary, not quite willing to quit hugging each other, knowing that we both care about these kids–the orphans and the adopted children. In that, we agree and I know it. Even if I can’t understand what her voice says, I can see it in her eyes.