Though a few past blogs have come from a feeling of guilt of not doing something, they had less emotion behind them then many other things. This one is coming from a lot of feelings for sure. Tonight, while hanging out in the park with the boys from Tre Xanh, the shelter for boys in Saigon I spend time at, I ran into a kid, who had previously lived there, but has since taken to his own and prefers to stay in the park, only a several minute walk from the shelter. He was there for about half of last year, and was one of my favorite people to see. Always bursting with energy and life. He had come back recently for a week or so, But I was travelling then, and by the time I came back to Saigon and to the boys, he had gone. I looked in the park for him, several weeks ago, but with out luck. Tonight he appeared, in tattered clothes, but after just a second to see if I was still his friend, the smile he has in my mind came out, and he was the same old Cuong I remember, just dirtier. I asked him, in probably bad Vietnamese to come back to the shelter, he seemed to agree pretty quick, but I wasn’t sure there was much behind it. I asked a few more times, and he seemed in, so when the other boys and I headed back, he came along. I was pretty happy, though still not very hopeful it would mean anything. At least a shower and clothes I wanted to get him.
As soon as we got to the door, he tensed up quite a lot, and became very different inside. He was afraid to see the staff, and none of them too happy to see him either. Though they are all very compassionate people, and basically give everything for these boys, they know when help wanted is not sincere, and don’t encourage it. They were hesitant to have him back, he must have felt the vibe of our conversation in English, if not understood it. He tried his hardest not to, but started crying, and then his pride and stubbornity of youth kicked in, and he wouldn’t have any way other than his. Not a clean shirt, not dinner, and didn’t want to come home with me, even just one night I told him. After finding futility in trying to convince him otherwise, I went home and he back to the park. I told him I loved him, and would see him again. I hope so.
The feelings, though hard to deal with for sure, I know are just facts of humanity. Not everyone will be helped. Not everyone can be helped. Not everyone wants to be helped. Human pride is a tough force to deal with. To feel so self empowered that you will be assisted by no one, I guess is a right, and possibly desire of many humans.
So, for now, I’ll try to leave it from my mind, at least for the night. I”ll look for him again for sure, and hope something good happens.