Having been on the board of CEF for about 5 years now and a very close friend of Linda’s for close to 15 – my recent visit to Vietnam was a trip way too long overdue! It was wonderful to finally experience first-hand the amazing work that Linda remains so hugely passionate about.
My husband Steve and I combined our annual holiday with some rewarding and inspiring time with Linda and her CEF team based in Hoi An – with an added bonus of visiting 15 families in remote areas of Quang Nam Province in Central Vietnam – all of whom have a daughter sponsored by CEF donors.
Most of the families had been devastated by the death or severe illness of a parent and were living in primitive, very basic homes. Yet we discovered families who have a renewed sense of hope now that their daughter is being given the opportunity of an education and consequently the possibility of employment and/or career in their adult years. I observed a total respect and gratitude for what they are receiving through CEF and this shone through in the appreciation and love the children and families extend towards Linda.
It never ceases to amaze me that amidst the most devastating poverty, a kindness and generosity of spirit so often prevail. We were offered tea and snacks, even a meal by the families, and it was plain to see that they valued their hospitality and our wellbeing over and above the reality of feeding themselves in the days to come. It was quite extraordinary and another reminder of the value differences we can observe in developing countries.
I came away asking myself: How can one not want to support such open-hearted people? Steve and I are looking forward to supporting Dinh Thi Thanh Thuy through her education in the years to come.