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The Dance of Hoa Tuong Vi

The Dance of Hoa Tuong Vi

It’s my second day at Thi Nghe Orphanage. As soon as I met her, I wondered if her parents had named her for the same reason that my parents had named me Tuong Vi. But then, I wondered if it was even her parents who had named her at all. She was born 4 years after me…but my, how our lives differed.

Today, in Ho Chi Minh City, District 1

I woke up today on a soft, pink bed at the Number One Hotel at 82 Nguyen Du. She woke up today on a hard, metal bed at the Thi Nghe Orphanage.
I walked two blocks to the public bus stop on Hai Ba Trung to take the bus to Thi Nghe Orphange to guide a girl almost as tall as me out from her room. I was clumsy in trying to help her as she made her way across the small playground. She was guided by a stranger out from her room. She wobbled back and forth, finding the stranger’s hand too flimsy to provide sturdy support. She wanted to sit down after a while to soak in the sun.

For breakfast,

I gobbled down Bún Bò, and gulped down two glasses of water. She laid down with her head rested on an awkward foam pillow. Food was fed to her.

In the afternoon,

I spent the day in her room, walking, jumping, singing, humming, talking, guiding, learning, hugging, dancing. She spent the day in bed, leg kicking, head bobbing, eyes wandering, dancing.

That night,

I went home to my hotel room. She stayed in her room at Thi Nghe with 16 other children.

~ ~

Who knew that Tuong Vi flowers could grow up in such different environments, into such different forms?   Despite all these differences, we both woke up for the next day, to go on with our lives. This is perhaps because we are both fighting the same fight, deep inside, albeit fighting in very different ways. Perhaps we are both dancing the same dance in the pursuit of happiness.

If so, I hope we’ll keep on dancing.


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