Chuyển tới nội dung
Trang chủ » Blog » 1322 Anguished Cries

1322 Anguished Cries

We are 1322 unfortunate children scattered across 21 provinces in Vietnam. We are insignificant youths situated in remote rural villages, rugged steep mountain slopes, or dark damp alleys in the heart of a city. Fortunately, we have received help from benefactors who discovered us through The Heart of Compassion Association’s (HOC) annual publication called Understanding and Love. According to the organization’s database, we are comprised of 739 males (55.9%) and 583 females (44.1%). Each one of us possesses unique heart-breaking backgrounds and family circumstances; however, we can be grouped into 4 broad categories: orphaned, blind, terminally ill, and disabled.

(1) Orphaned. As a writer once wrote, 101 of us were born under an unlucky star. Our parents passed away from natural disasters, illnesses, or accidents—leaving us alone like solitary hatchlings shivering in the cold rainy winter night. How we crave for a mother’s warm embrace or a father’s strong protection! Watching our peers being guided to school by their parents, we cannot help but crave for a family. No matter how impoverished or desolate that home may be, we are satisfied as long as we are able to utter the two phrases “Mother!” and “Father!”

We tremble in fear at the bleak future ahead of us: malnourished from lack of food, weakened from lack of clothing and sheltering, uneducated from lack of opportunities to attend school. We fear for unexpected accidents and illnesses without anyone to care for us. When faced with failures and oppressions in life, who can we lean on for support?

(2) Blind: We are 89 youths who are blind since birth, unable to visualize the faces of our parents and siblings. We cannot comprehend the concept of colours nor see the shapes of everyday objects around us, much less the wondrous world beyond the darkness we face every day. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet are all black shades for us. How can we recognize black when colour itself is a foreign concept!

We hear there are modern technologies available to help blind individuals read and interact with the outside world. However, we are merely children of poor families living in remote villages. What resources do we have to buy these advanced books and machines to foster learning? Who will teach us these valuable skills? We can only accept our fate; to live in darkness both physically and mentally. What use are dreams in the face of our bitter reality?

(3) Terminal illness: We are 14 emaciated figures born with severe congenital illnesses.  Some of us are afflicted with heart disease, while others suffer from liver disease, cancer, epilepsy, mental illness, or deficient kidneys requiring constant dialysis. Our parents work ceaselessly night and day but still could not provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter for the family. Where can they find millions of Vietnamese currencies to pay for our treatment? We suffer from our illnesses, but our parents suffer immense guilt as they watch us writhe in pain day in and out. Holding us in their warm embrace, we cry for our tragic, unfortunate fate.

(4) Disabilities: We are 1,118 disabled children living in hell every day. 371 of us are paralyzed, unable to perform the most basic everyday tasks of eating, bathing, and excreting.  There are 16 friends whose arms and legs are in constant spasms and disfigured to the extent that they no longer have any resemblance of humanity. In addition, 196 friends have a medical condition known as tetraplegia—paralysis of all four limbs; 126 friends suffer from cerebral palsy or hydrocephalus—build-ups of fluids within the skull, leading to brain swelling. Furthermore, 85 friends suffer from multiple conditions and illnesses concurrently. Oftentimes our parents return home from a long day of strenuous work to find us bathed in our bodily waste while the foul stench of feces permeated throughout the house. Exhausted they utter harsh words to us, making us feel even worse about our unfortunate fates.  Why are we born only to suffer from such misfortune?

Some say we performed evil deeds in our previous life, so now we have to pay retribution. Others believe it is the design of an almighty Being. We are simple-minded individuals and do not understand such deep doctrinal concepts. We only understand the devastating reality of pains and aches we experience daily. Breathing can sometimes be a struggle, not to count the difficulty of finding a comfortable position to sit; we do not have the energy to expend on such debates.

Please do not discuss our existences with those harsh critical words! Please do not look at us with eyes of curiosity, pity, or contempt. Please do not view us as disposable wastes, as curses casted on our family, or as burdens to society. We are still humans. We have the right to live, to have dignity, to receive love and empathy.  We are not circus acts to videotape or photograph, nor are we projects for people to boast about their “charitable deeds.”

For the past several years, we were able to experience genuine love from our benefactors from halfway around the world. Once a year, we receive a loving gift from our benefactors, just like in the tales of Santa Claus, fairies, or a Buddha. Those gifts, no matter how small or large, provide us with joy and faith in life. They are especially valuable to our parents, family, and caregivers who can better provide for us with those gifts.

Many among us have received our benefactors’ help for the past 18 years, such as Nguyễn Văn Trung and Nguyễn Văn Hậu. Unfortunately, more than 70 friends have passed away. Their names are placed on the altar at the headquarters of the Heart of Compassion Association, Inc. Every week the members provide prayers and offerings to our deceased friends. We have found a place of refuge when we are both living and deceased.

To start off the new 2015 year, they reorganized and surveyed our files to work more efficiently and help more individuals with similar conditions to us throughout the world. This opportunity has allowed us an opportunity to express our most sincere thoughts and feelings. We are at a loss for words; we can only express our gratitude and well-wishes to our benefactors by repeatedly muttering the most humane words: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Translated into English by Khánh Hiền