By Shauna Regan
I don’t think a name could be anymore fitting for a place than The Friendship Village. Located on the outskirts of Hanoi, created to house and help victims of Agent Orange, The Friendship Village is simple a place of peace. Not only have I seen friendships between volunteer and child but I’ve seen the kids themselves develop their own friendship between one another and look out for one another when needed.
4 days. 4 days is all it took for me to feel connected to this kids. To feel like I understand them. Even if no words are even spoken. Not because they’re unable to speak. But because sometimes words aren’t needed.
Take one of the boys for example; who communicates through music. A clever, funny capable young man who likes to sing and tap out beats instead of using words. Some may say it’s impractical, annoying, and not correct. But in spending time with him and all the others I’ve come to realise our way isn’t always the practical way. The way we communicate is great, but it’s not the only way. The actual way in which people communicate is not important. It is simply about getting the message across.
These kids have taught me this and so much more. They’ve shown me that through tough times, you can still smile. Through misunderstanding, your voice can still be heard. And that through it all, all people really want is for someone else to care.
People might take one look at these kids and think nothing can be done but they would be wrong. I spent such a short amount of time with them but I still believe that each and every one of them is more than able.
I’m not one for writing about my feelings but I can honestly say these kids have changed me. They’ve made me think about all the silly little things I complain about. They’ve made me question what I will do with my future. But most importantly they’ve taught me that whatever life throws at you, greet it with a smile and get on with it. They’re strong and determined kids who simply want the best out of life and that’s just what the Friendship Village is giving them.