The United World Week 2017 in Vietnam

15 April 2017

May 1st was the big launch of the united world week in our social center at Binh Duong, on the suburbs  of Ho Chi Minh City.

It was a wonderful day with so many new young people attending. We started the day together where we defined the motive of the different activities we were going to do. After that, we all went to an orphanage. Youth for a united world had prepared games, songs and workshops for the children: learning to bend their clothes, cut their nails, brush their hands and teeth … to pick up the garbage, passing on some ideas of first aid, including how to hear the heart beats, different painting and handicraft workshops . Finally, a hairdresser for children who wanted to cut their hair.

The youth were just involved in these workshops and there was a beautiful atmosphere that made the children of the orphanage happy. While we did all this, a small team prepared for us a delicious lunch … appreciating  it after a full morning under a beautiful sun at the peak of the hot season! In the afternoon, we returned to the orphanage, and together with the children we cleaned their rooms and bathrooms and tidied  their beds and wardrobes. Work was not missing but there was a lot of happiness! We built a beautiful relationship with these children and were asked to go back to them regularly.

Here’s what one of the youth that participated said: “Thank you for giving me this opportunity today. It was a fantastic day; to see the children so happy and the youth who gave all they could give through games, and meaningful workshops … Experimenting reciprocity  ‘has pushed me to do something for these children too, for they have full happiness. I understand that when we love, it is important to serve, give space to the other and do everything as if it were my last moment. The priest in charge of this orphanage, before we left, told us: “What a beautiful day, you are quite different! So many groups have come here, doing so many games with the kids, but you have prepared everything so well, the guys have learned today so many useful things that will help them in everyday life. Thank you, hope to see you often!’’

May 2nd was devoted to the interreligious dialogue of life. So, we went to a temple. Again this time there were new youth with us and for almost everybody it was a “big premiere”: some of us had never entered a temple and it was nice to start to know our Buddhist brothers in our country in which they are in little number. In the morning, we heard the welcome words of the abbot monk and we had lunch in silence with all the Buddhist believers present. In the afternoon, we offered our help to the nuns at home and we cleaned up the temple tower where, on every floor, there is a chapel devoted to Buddha. It was a great experience, because we lived it with all our heart and strength despite the heat, as if it was our home. Really a beautiful dialogue of life!

The nun who accompanied us and headed us, at first seemed a bit suspicious, but her smile widened more and more and we saw her happy!

The impression of one of the Youth: “This morning, we heard the Abbot monk and it was my first time  Everything he said made me so impressed, his words and his gestures have given me so much peace inside. After lunch we stayed to clean up, we were few for all that work and I wanted to go back home because I was tired and had something to do … Now let me tell you, Thank God I stayed! Because it was a pretty afternoon where we worked in a beautiful atmosphere. At the end of the day, I felt a great joy within me. If I went back and listened to my tiredness, I would not have experienced this happiness. When I returned home I could quickly finish what I had to do. I understand that when we do our part, being in the will of God, the Eternal Father covers everything and helps us.”

On the 3rd of May, in the evening after work or study, we met the Carmelite Sisters for a mass to pray for peace. The sisters also attended, and with them it was a very special moment of communion. After the prayers, we stopped for a while and the sisters told us that they were touched by what we did, seeing that not only they pray but also the youth do. This moment of union with them made us feel like brothers and sisters!

On the 4th of May, we picked up clothes and other things to sell them on May 13 at the Fatima festival. The money collected will be for the Genfest.

On May 5th we were with the guys for the Run4unity preparations! It was a great opportunity to build, in a simple way, a beautiful union with them.

On the 6th, there was the Run4unity with more than 100 children and teenagers! A good family time, supported by the entire community of Ho Chi Minh City.

On May 7th, Sunday, we concluded our United World Week  with an exchange of experiences as a communion between us and getting to know what has what has been done in other places on earth on this special week.

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