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A boy in a tattered shirt was staring me with an eye full of amusement and interest. His small palms were clinging protectively to a half-broken glass mug, which was sloshing with diluted coffee colored liquid. In his eagerness to quench his thirst, the boy's gulps could not match the incoming flow of the water to his mouth, which caused taupe stripes to adorn his tanned colored skin. The boy cracked a smile with his mud water caked lips at me.
When I asked the boy what he was drinking, his smile was lost in a mix of emotions as the priest next to my father replied, «Water». I was startled by the fact that the liquid the boy was attempting to drink was water. The easily dismissed reason for my father leading us to this village hit me like a sudden pang of shortness in breath and was all to apparent now. Drinking water that I take for granted everyday, was not a guaranteed amenity to these people and we were here to build them a well. I visited the small village through my then precocious 5th grader perspective . To hear of famine and poverty was no vicarious substitute for observing the reality of the World. I came to realize that I had been living in certain pirviledged pockets of society, shielded from many hardships that about 1/3 of the population faces everyday, even today. Most of all, I really dug deep into myself to find how I could manifest my desire to help them with something material, something concrete. During our visit, my father had established four wells in the villages up North in Viet Nam and I was still brainstorming as to how I could help the people.
Four years later, after enrolling in a high-school in the United States, I learned that I took it upon myself to establish a new extracurricular club in memory of those people and hoping to channel my passion to help them. Readily picturing that small village in Vietnam, I decided to found OSV (Operation Smile Vietnam). In order to spread awareness of what I had experienced to my teachers and peers, I showed videos of children in the village and their hard to escape plight, but also emphasized how collective efforts have been able to raise the quality of life for our global cousins. My passion seemed to have rubbed off for many students, inspiring them to participate in this club. Soon after I visited Vietnam by myself during my first year of high school, by spring break of sophomore year, members of OSV had made a trip to Vietnam for 10 days of volunteering.
The available standard of life to the children in these towns was humbling. Most children did not receive basic medical care and some had to travel hours, days, and even weeks for an opportunity for a proper operation.
Last summer, when I revisited the hospital with other members, I felt sorrow for them from the bottom of of my heart. The cleft-lip children wished to smile, but they percieved that their smile was not acceptable to society. Looking at these children, I was disgraceful of myself that I had forgotten the agony I felt years ago and the anguish that of my frustration of not being able to assist them more. After each visit to the hospital, my passion for OSV rejuvenates with fire deep down from my heart.
Children were crying because they were scared before the surgery, and they were tired due to the extremely hot weather. I led the OSV club and re-planned our schedules to look after the kids in the morning, and work in a toy factory in the afternoon. We worked six hours a day for eight days. In the steaming weather, we stuffed cotton into the teddy bears, cut the materials, and boxed the dolls. After eight days of working, we left the factory with 15 boxes of stuffed toys and some spare money. We bought crayons and balloons, and headed to the hospital with the lightest of gaits along with the 15 boxes of toys. The fatigue from the 8 days of factory toil melted off our shoulders as we distributed the dolls that we earned to the children in the hospital. We drew pictures with them, and also blew balloons. The children smiled. It was the happiest smile of smiles. At the same time, it was not only delightful to think of their boosted self-esteem after surgery, but I was also proud of our OSV team to give benefit to these children with what they truly desired. The OSV team sometimes reminisces those weeks as they symbolize what the club's mission seeks. We are planning a return trip to Vietnam soon.
Certain events realign priorities in your life. My priority isn't living a life that everyone envies. It is to live a life like a Santa Claus. A Santa that brings happiness wherever he goes!
I have led donations for the operation fee of two kids this year and the year before, which was followed by 10 additional donations from the OSV. I truely wish to expand the OSV club to regional and global institutions after high school, to deliver more smiles in Vietnam. The Santa Doo Soo who gives smiles to children who wish they could smile! It's the future me that I dream of.
"ates, I learned that I took it upon myself to establish a new extracurricular club in memory of those people and hoping to channel my passion to help them. Readily picturing that small village in Vietnam, I decided to
found OSV (Operation Smile Vietnam). In order to spread awareness of what I had experienced to my teachers and peers, I showed videos of children in the village and their hard to escape plight, but also emphasized how collective efforts have been able to raise the quality of life for our global cousins. My passion seemed to have rubbed of"
the word found should hopefully be replaced by established or some other synonym... found seems to be in the wrong tense!
A boy in a tattered shirt was staring at me with...
The boy cracked a smile with his mud-caked lips.
Four years later, after enrolling in a high-school in the United States, I learned that I could take it upon myself to establish a new extracurricular club in memory of those people and
hoping to channel my passion to help them.
These two should be put together as one sentence with a dash:
It is to live a life like a Santa Claus -- a Santa that brings happiness wherever he goes!