"We live in Heaven. They live in Hell", Kim Chau explained to me. We had risen at 2 am and boarded a bus heading 5 hrs outside of Saigon City to visit some of Vietnam's poorest people. When the road ended, we took motorbikes into the villages. Kim, along with her daughter Maria (http://www.chaukitchenandbar.com/) have been fundraising in Vancouver to build homes for families in Vietnam. 15 houses had already been erected and this trip was dedicated to distributing food and other supplies to 250 families in dire need and to see the homes that had been built.
Our group consisted of 11 people, most of us from Vancouver. I believe kim's intention on having us come along was primarily for educational purposes. The day was a lesson in quality of life. It is hard to put into words the many emotions we felt when we met the families and saw their living conditions. These people have nothing. They work long days and earn just enough to feed themselves. They collect rain water for cooking and drinking. During the dry season they drink the river water, which also serves as their toilet. The government does not help them, not even with road and bridge maintenance.
The houses that were built are basic; tiled floors and tin roofs. Toilets are outside. Most of the families in the village do not own beds and sleep on the hard ground. The families had asked the temple for help and with Kim's help the houses were built. Many more families, who live beneath palm leaf thatch huts, are still waiting for a donor to built them a desperately needed shelter. If you are reading this and wish to offer financial help please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim told me that she is "overworked sometime, in Canada".She also says that she is "not tired". She knows first hand how difficult life is for the poor families and orphans in Vietnam. She is dedicated to giving back to her community.