A Smile is Universal in Vietnam
Today was my first day at the hospital. It was overwhelming at first. After arriving at the Hope room, I went with two local supporters to three different floors of the hospital. The Hope room is for children six years old and older, so we walked around looking for children who might be interested and old enough.
Just walking around the hospital was a very foreign experience for me. Fortunately, I have spent very little time in hospitals, especially pediatric hospitals. So it was quite a shock for me to see so many sick babies. I have never heard so many children crying at once. And I have never seen so many worried and tired mothers. This experience was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The rooms were overcrowded, sometimes as many as eight children to a room. My heart ached for all the children and their mothers and fathers.
Due to the language barrier, all I could really do was follow the local supporters around and smile at the children and their families. Travelling has taught me that a smile is universal. It didn’t matter that I don’t know their language, when I smiled at the children and their families, they smiled back and knew that I was just there to help.
Four children came downstairs with us to the Hope room. In the following hours, we did arts and crafts, colored, and played with the children. More children filtered in and out as the time went on. I think the children had fun and enjoyed themselves. I think the other volunteers and I were able to bring some happiness into their days. I really hope so.