Faces with radiant smiles




    At the end of a school year, Tieng Hat Que Huong sponsors a day outing for all members which includes the presentation of prizes and scholarships for outstanding students of traditional music.  This year with the zealous support of the Da Ngoai Lua Viet Travel Company, 8 shares of holiday expenditure for the excellent learners and 50 percent of total expenditure to all the members), 65 members left for Long Hai Beach by bus on Jan 19th, 2003. It was special that the Da Ngoai Lua Viet Company also held this excursion together for the children with sight impairments of the Bung Sang Center (known as the Enlightenment Center). The following are some pieces of information about the excursion.


    Three buses in a line left for the beach at 6 am on Jan 19th, 2003, carrying 65 troupe members and 41 sight-impaired children of the center. Departing at this early hour especially on Sunday when less traffic is on roads resulted in a stop-over at Long Thanh for breakfast after an hour run. The children were divided into small groups led by an elder brother or sister. What a feeling it was to see these brothers and sisters carefully showing the way into the restaurant to the children whom the elder children  with cheerful faces followed in a queue by putting their hands to the shoulders in front.  After half an hour at restaurant, all rushed to the buses in eagerness for the beach.


   The children with very sensitive ears as a compensation for their sight impairments yelled with laughter, even when the buses had not yet reached the beach: “Here we come! The beach out there!” The sounds of the waves flapping the sand into white spumes as a string of greeting flowers seemed to respond to them.


    After having received canvas beds, the excursionists changed for swimming suites. While the members of the troupe were busy preparing for a swim, the children were queuing with balls in hands for the blue water. The members were absorbed in frolicking, the children playing in the water such warm-up sea games as rowing a boat on the sand, tug of war … They were grouped into 2 sides and there were the winner and the looser as always. But it was the most happiness to see the 2 sides breaking into a broad grin. It was the time to have lunch at the Thuy Lan restaurant that, as far as I could tell, offered all the excursionists the canvas beds, the clean water from wells and as well as the food free of charge.


    At around 1pm all the people attended in the open air activities of a group. The stage was half a meter higher than the audience floor, all in the shadow of the sea pines. The faces radiant with smiles and the positive attendance of the children made everyone around moved and absorbed in the cheerfulness and the warmth of love. Only when “who volunteers?” were heard were many arms raised and the games started, game after game – blowing balloons to burst, the longest chantey  (particularly as  the Southern chantey), … Everyone competed, even some very young active peddlers around asking for taking part in the games on stage. Lots of "gold medals" and prizes were rewarded. Finally, all the participants and the audience sang out loud together, wishing joy, love, happiness and good luck for the coming lunar new year. The center also received big gifts as well as the holiday expenditure, for the children, totally worth 5 million VN dongs from the sponsor – young singer Nguyen Hoang Nam, the winner of the contest “Go and find the star” held by Close up.


    The excursion came to an end. We said goodbye to each other in a deep attachment. The naive faces radiant with smiles together with the zeal of the children of the Bung Sang Center, the Tieng Hat Que Huong troupe, and the honest smile of Nguyen Van My – Director of Da Ngoai Lua Viet Company, as well as the sympathy of the tourist guides have been forever flowers of the most freshness in everyone’s heart, especially children with disabilities!



Written by Phuong Thuy (Hochiminh City, Jan 21st, 2003)

Translated by Tan Tai