Early this year in May on one of many trips to our beloved rough and tough orphanage TTO, we summoned the retired architect but still full time father “Bunyip” to put his legacy craft to work, scratching a few lines to paper, to plan and construct TTO’s first electronic learning room. A space with computers, electronic learning platforms, internet connections, and air conditioning was our goal. This turned out to be an interesting project, with the occasional hurdle 🙂 Some that come to mind are language barriers and geographical locations, with the Bunyip in Australia, Thanh, Salmon and myself in Singapore, our amazing builders/IT team in Ho Chi Minh city, and finally (probably the biggest) is what some might call my overall “unstructured approach” to our task.
If we could recreate some of the wonderful and ingenious misinterpretations between our team and Ms. Cu, the head sister at TTO, the real story of our journey would be best represented by a performance on Saturday Night Live. Today we can all sit back with tears of laughter, knowing that we have redefined the meaning of Chinese Whispers in Vietnam.
This project and team however really came together (and to life) when we got a bit of unexpected help. At first we started on this project with an approach that was too commercial, with budgets, seating options, designs etc. We soon found our path rigid and progress slow. Our endeavors and progress didn’t truly come to fruition until we asked Alex, a friend and youth worker, for some tips. He suggested we ask the kids to be involved as well.
One evening Ms. Cu gathered the kids all together and explained the computer room and asked them to name the room and choose the colours. A lot of good ideas were put forward like: hope, study room, rainbow, bright future, etc. The children believe the computer room will help them study and learn. At the end of lengthy debate and consideration, they all agreed to name their room “Future Rainbow”, or “Cau Vong Tuong Lai” in Vietnamese. The children said the steps to the future are like the colours of the rainbow, and the rainbow is their path to follow. If they wanted a better future, they will need to get there step by step, as though they are walking on a rainbow. They chose to colour the room pink to represent hope.
These refreshing words and perspective really had us pull together naturally.
It was finished two weeks later.
Next we will employ a part time tutor for the “Cau Vong Tuong Lai Room” to run programmes and to coordinate the education curriculum.
Thank you to everyone involved from the TTO team.