This will begin a series of posts. They will feature the boys of Green Bamboo Shelter in Saigon, Vietnam. A refuge for less fortunate boys, I spent a great deal of time over the course of several years with many of the boys who passed through its doors, looking for help in a less than easy and fair Vietnamese life. Nearly all of them became more than friends to me, closer to brothers. Though our lives have played out in quite different ways, I believe our paths crossed for a reason, and they will always hold a special place in my heart and mind. I am away for them for several months, and missing them very much. I made these photos before I left, and for the time being, they are bringing me comfort, and keeping them in my thoughts until we meet again.
Thien is one of the most amazing youngsters I have had the pleasure of knowing. He is highly intelligent, and seems to have a great desire to better his life through education. His beginnings have not been easy. With a family of nearly eleven, and without a home, they inhabit a small slab of the street, and take makeshift cover at night. His mother and father are still together, and do provide love and what they can for their children. Thien and his brother Tri came to Green Bamboo sometime last year, and since seem to flourish there with friendships and education. Two other sisters have found home in another shelter for girls, and several younger sisters stay with the mother on the street side. Green Bamboo is only several minutes away, so frequent visits keep the family ties strong. Though I hope and pray for the best for all of them, especially Thien and Tri, (whose post will follow) in a country like Vietnam, many things can hinder bright futures. I guess only time will tell. But in the meantime, I hope to do all I can to make sure.
Several posts below with other stories of my friends there.