Day Two

Our morning adventures began with a full belly of the famous Vietnamese dish Pho and insight into the life of an inspiring individual. We all gathered around a long table at the well known Vietnamese restaurant to indulge in the Asian culture. The dish of rice noodles with beef and the company of Mr. Chan filled our stomachs and hearts with warmth. This man had only known us for a short amount of time, yet treated us like any true Marianist would, like family. He shared his struggles of escaping North Korea during a time of religious persecution and communist take over. Mr. Chan's story sounded unbelievable with the amount of people who died in front of him during his immigration. The boat he took to America was small with over a 100 people who lived with out water and food for three weeks. It was a miracle that he survived. Mr. Chan's bravery and courage was striking, and looking at him now, no one could ever tell he had a past of suffering. He made a joke at the end of our meal which explains his journey, "I came to America weighing 116 lbs, then I weighed 125 lbs, then 135 lbs, then 150 lbs, and now I weigh 175 lbs. I guess it is a sign of a good life." Mr. Chans gratefulness was inspiring, the joy that he now possesses is admirable and our venture to the restaurant Pho 87 will never be forgotten.

The hospitality we received by Mr. Chan was only the beginning to a wonderful day ahead of us. After having some wonderful Pho and hearing many stories, the groups made its way down to a battered womens center where once again greated with immense hospitality, and were able to learn about suffering, courage and hope. The first thing we did at this center was to hang out and play with the children who reside there temporarily. Some of us played a very competitive game of soccer while others took advantage of the playground and time to talk with the children. Some of us were having more fun than the children. It was a good way to burn off some of the Pho we ate earlier. All of the children at the location had been abused in one way or another, yet served as a reminder of hope. We also did some inventory at the facility. We had a lot of fun picking through the different fair trade toys and materials made all over the world. Many of us were impressed with how creative these objects were. Because of how many of us there were we were able to do the task in a short amount of time. The sisters were thankful for our help, but it was nothing in comparison to what we gained from their stories and hospitality. They most definitely hold a place in our prayers.

We can't wait to see what tomorow has to bring us!!
Mariana and Lindsey


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