Wow! John's actually smiling around little children =:-0
The two fingers in a "V" has a triple meaning.
It means "Hi" (Hai is how you say 2 in Vietnamese), "Vietnam", and "Peace".
Tuyết is standing on the right in the first photo. When My told her of our helmet project, she asked if she we would consider choosing a very poor school where less than 20% of the parents, most of whom make less than 100,000 VND (~US$4.60) a day, can afford to buy their child a 150,000 VND helmet.
ABSOLUTELY! We were picking schools pretty much at random and expert guidance is always welcome—especially one who told me to give my offered donation to the orphanage directly to the monks and not to her to then distribute.
The school principal (third from left below) was very welcoming of our offer of helmets for each of her 150 students.
Once again we will also give helmets to the staff so that EVERYONE at the school wears the same helmet.
During our conversation we again broached the subject of "how do we keep the parents from selling/trading the gift helmet for food?" The principal responded immediately by saying (this back-and-forth was only possible with Vy's excellent translating skills) that wearing the helmets would be required of all children and that those who do not wear them will get a demerit.
Please remember that Việt Nam is a Communist-run country and that very few people want to stand out for notice by authorities, so demerits are much more unwelcome than in the west.
We finalized the design for the cards and had 500 printed two-sided (US$13.82):
|This is the front if you read Vietnamese|
|This is the front if you read English|
The two sides say something slightly different due to culture differences. My was very helpful to me in determining the best wording to put on the Vietnamese side, "Who has the heart to please support protection helmets for kids, please contact us". It was an interesting discussion because although her English (and probably her Swahili) is better than my Vietnamese, our in-depth conversations mostly involve each of us typing into Google Translate on our respective phones.
She also insisted that my photo go on the VN side. I pushed back on that one because I want this to be about the helmets, NOT me. Her reasoning was that Vietnamese people would be very leery of our efforts unless they knew that a westerner is involved. Thinking back to the reaction Vy reported from some of her initial school contacts when they pretty much told her that she was running some kind of scam, I had to agree. I did make it as small as she would let me, though.
We placed the order for 552 helmets:
- 231 size small (3-5 years old)
- 271 size medium (6 years old and up)
- 50 size adult (for teachers and staff)