The life of returnee children from Cambodia in Tan Bien, Vietnam.

It has been almost a year since we began the experience in Tay Ninh. In a short time, we have initiated quite a few services here, such as teaching English, Math and Vietnamese in the summer, and Catechism in the parish of Thanh Linh. We also visit the old and the sick. However, the main apostolic work we aim at is the education of the group of poor returnee children.

We have two groups: The first one started shortly after our arrival in May and consists of nine children. Their houses are near where we live. Sr. Phuong is in charge and holds the class in our front room. The other group, closer to the mission area, is about 12 km from us. We began classes with this group on Sept 19, 2019. Sr. Hang and I take care of this class, which starts at 8:00 am and ends at 10:30 am. It takes place in the yard of a private house because there are no facilities in the church yet. In the beginning, they were around 8 children; then the number increased to 17. However, they number only 12 at present. Some stop because of their own family situations.

Most of the children in this group sell lottery tickets before and after the class. At around 7:15 a boy already manages to sell 60 to 70 tickets. There is one boy who lives with his parents and older brother in a rented room. He and his brother study with us. The family is Buddhist. First time I met him selling lottery tickets on my way to class. After 20-30 minutes, he came to class. I went to visit his family several times. Unfortunately, his father passed away more than a week ago from cancer. Since then they have moved temporarily to their uncle house. We went to visit them because there are no classes. They look thinner. I ask the mother about moving back to the rented house, and she answered: “I don’t know. We still owe the owner our rent. So we are working to pay the debt.” Then I added, “How about the two boys, will they be coming back to class?” She told me “Maybe! We have to work hard to resolve the debt.”

Because of the Corona Virus, all schools are closed. We plan to move our class to the mission Church. We don’t know how many children can come. This place is about 3 km from their homes. Some children are small, and it is dangerous for them to walk along the highway, which is the main route to the border of Samat one the way to Cambodia. We foresee a difficult beginning, but we still hope and look forward to a better future for these children. Please, pray for us and our new mission here. Thank you very much. God bless us all.

Martha Anh, aci