Our fourth annual Vietnam Summer Training Program got underway this week at Thuan An Center. As we gathered in the room on the second floor of the early intervention building for the opening ceremony, I smiled to myself thinking how this event has become a reunion just as much as a conference. I remember during our first summer here in 2010, the Vietnamese were shy about asking questions of our professionals or sharing much emotion with us. All that formality went by wayside long ago. Trust and friendship have settled in to stay, making our program all the stronger for it.
Hillary got the Vietnamese singing the popular hello song (hello, hello, hello…how are you, and you, and you?”). They all cheered as each of our professionals said a few words of introduction and they gave a burst of applause in welcoming Sherri as the Global Foundation team’s sole new member.
Thuan An Center is situated in a non-touristy area of Vietnam where the list of hotels is very short. Thankfully, the Din Ky was built at just the right time as I have little idea where else we would have accommodated all our professionals over the years. In a sort of “build it and they will come” situation, we take over most of the rooms at the Din Ky during our Summer Training Programs and Mobile Missions and it has has become our home away from home. The Din Ky is as much a part of our team’s experience here as the training effort.
For the balance of the week, 50 children under 6 years of age are taking part in therapy, classroom, and early intervention sessions with the Vietnamese participants, providing them with a practical learning experience. The Global Foundation professionals coach the Vietnamese and help them progress in their understanding of how to help young children with hearing loss develop listening and spoken language skills and progress in their education
There are 38 schools and early intervention programs in our Deaf Education Program spread across 20 provinces in South Vietnam. Several families traveled from these schools to board at Thuan An Center this week so their teachers can practice with their own children as part of our Therapy and Early Intervention tracks. Last night’s full house of over 50 parents in attendance during our Parent Program was yet another demonstration of these families’ commitment to help their children with hearing loss.