Part 3: Visit to Huong La Orphanage in Bac Ninh Province Vietnam (10 December 2017)

Pres and I flew to Hanoi Saturday the 9th.   The staff of Tomodachi House, the hostel we stayed in was helpful as always and led us to shops in Cha Ca where we could source for crayons, pens, and colouring books as well as soaps, toothbrushes, boxes of toothpaste, face towels, and baby powder for our goodie bags!


Sister Hai was very excited knowing we brought 50 talc powder bottles for all the residents, including Sister Hai herself, something they’d likely not spend their money on considering the scant resources they have.

Huong was very nice to have bought warm blankets for the residents.  Thank you very much, Huong!  Her daughter Oc was our very reliable translator as her English is really strong for a young girl her age!


With Huong, Oc and Voi 🙂

Our friends Tri and Trung and Pres and I have one thing in common – Baker & McKenzie.  Pres and I were from the Manila office while Tri and Trung are with Baker & McKenzie Hanoi.  WE met over a decade ago and despite the distance, our friendship blossomed and here we are now, doing charity work together!

True friends do not happen everyday.  They are in fact very rare this day and age.  Baker & McKenzie brought us all together!


Before we left, Sister Hai and the rest of the sisters prepared us some pho ga (chicken noodle soup); thank you all very much for the thoughtfulness!


Our group photo with the volunteers and Sister Hai and the kids!  We will see you all again really soon!



Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” — Wess Stafford

Part 2: Visit to Huong La Orphanage in Bac Ninh Province Vietnam (10 December 2017)

The kids look so very happy – they smile and laugh and dance non-stop!  We commend Sister Hai and the rest of the sisters for the love and care they untiringly show these kids; it just radiates in their faces!  As John Bunyan aptly put it, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”  Bless your kind hearts!



Our young ladies, dancing to their favourite songs!



Auntie Nha, teaching the kids some dance moves!


Our cutesie little dancer, dancing with Auntie Nha!


Auntie Nha, teaching the kids how to gesture a heart!


This little boy is one of the youngest residents of the orphanage.  He loves to cuddle!



With Tri and Pres and this super cute little angel!



He’s one happy boy!  Though he is unable to speak, he is always smiling!


Lovely smile from this one lovely lady!



The kids love the camera!




When we were heading out, she called me to show me her favourite toy.  We will come back soon so we can play together!



This young lady loves being cuddled!

And this was how the kids bid us goodbye; so nice of them!  We will come back soon to see you all again!



Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” — Diana, Princess of Wales

Aozora Project in Tokyo (November 2017)

We were very fortunate to have been part of a group of volunteers that spent some time with children with disabilities (not physical) such as autism, Down syndrome, ADD/ADHD, LD, and Prader-Willi syndrome from a special school in Adachi-ku Tokyo last 15 November 2017.

Meeting Place was at Chiyoda Line Ayase Station (west exit) and we all took the bus together and reached the school after 30 minutes.


S and M are learning their colours and shapes.  S noticeably prefers all shades of green and her favourite is emerald!


Volunteer C was flashing a green heart and the kids were supposed to find and colour this shape in their activity paper


K is such a very sweet boy; he listened to Pres on what crayons to use and what shapes to colour!


This is K’s gingerbread man!  He said his gingerbread man looks like him, particularly the eyebrows and the nose!  So cute!  Do you see the shirt buttons?  His attention to details is really sharp!


The kids love to play BINGO and they’re very good at identifying shapes and colours!



K won in our BINGO game!  The kids were very excited because they got to choose their prizes!



While we’re on a quick break, S showed me her princess drawings, so beautiful!  She colours them and keeps them all in a nice folder in her bag, which she carries everywhere she goes.  She told me this drawing looks like me except that my hair is not blue and is not long enough!



Pres was teaching K how to gesture a beating heart!  He said he has a big heart and a big stomach, too!


My dear S also won in our BINGO game and she chose as her prize a notebook with floral cover.  Our young lady has got good taste 🙂


Our gingerbread princesses are twins!  She specifically asked me to place crystal hearts in our gingerbread to make them nice, caring, and loving princesses.  See the green lips?  She said she likes her gingerbread princess to wear emerald lipstick!


Pres enjoyed playing BINGO with the kids!


Our dear M was getting impatient until our yellow triangle was finally called out!  She chose a gray diecast car, same colour as her Dad’s car!


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S was asking why my name only has 3 letters – IVY!  That was why she kept looking at my name tag!  She is very observant!


Yey, S won in our BINGO game!



The volunteers equally enjoyed designing their own gingerbreads!


M loves her shapes and colours and her favourite is yellow half moon!



With the rest of the volunteers plus my gingerbread princess!


Japanese word 青空 (Aozora) means “blue sky.”