Can’t help but feel on top of the world after a day like this….
Thuy pulled up at my hotel on her motorbike and gave me a big grin as we spotted each other in the lobby. It has been several months since last summer’s teacher training program, but we fell into immediate easy banter as if we had just seen each other yesterday.
For those of you new to our blog, Thuy is the director of the Thuan An Center for Hearing Impaired Children and the Global Foundation’s partner in this Deaf Education Program we’re conducting in Vietnam. I first met Thuy in 2008. The time I spent at her school was the catalyst for my starting the Global Foundation in an effort to help children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the developing world have access to the resources and education they need for life success.
It has been fun growing my relationship with Thuy over the past few years as we’ve worked to build this Deaf Education program from a mere proposal and pipe dream to something tangible involving 35 schools of the deaf, over 100 teachers and families, a wide swath of American professionals, and 900 children with hearing loss.
Thuy and I headed out in a taxi to the Vietnamese PACCOM office to meet with government officials there. We reviewed last summer’s efforts, discussed our future plans, and squared away the necessary paperwork. The goal is to get our permit extended from a 1 year to a multi-year permit. Our contact representative who is helping us out there is so incredibly positive and supportive of what we’re doing.
The day wrapped up with a meeting at the US Consulate. Kit came to our opening ceremony last summer and we just hit it off over lunch that day. She is such a fun person with a big heart and can do spirit. I met up with her a few times after our initial meeting for coffee and her sage advice about working in country.
Today, Kit welcomed me upstairs into the consulate offices. She took me around on a tour of the new facility and I was particularly impressed by a library open to the public filled with all sorts of magazines and books ranging from world issues to pop culture (Kit kiddingly invited me back to enjoy a People magazine). We settled in her office to share travel stories and perspectives on foreign affairs and the various humanitarian efforts taking place around the world. An enjoyable way to pass the hour to be sure. I was invited to sign paperwork to receive a grant for our Deaf Education Program. The Global Foundation is very honored to get this measure of endorsement from the US Consulate. It is just terrific to have the support of both governments for our efforts here.
In between the two government meetings, Thuy and I kicked back and enjoyed each other’s company in the hotel restaurant. We sat there for three hours talking about everything from this month’s mobile mission to next summer’s training program to just sharing everyday life stories over a plate of skinny French fries and iced tea.
It was a fist-pump kind of day to be sure.