Letters from Trang

12th July, 2006 (We invited her and her best friend to come and stay and do some voluntary charity work in Hoi An) That's sound great .It is a nice trip. I have also never been by train .This is the first time so I think it is interesting. Does Mr Burn arrive his own? I am looking forward to seeing him. Oh, I think you do not need to book our room .It is expensive Can we stay at your home ? I really want to talk to you and Mr Burn all day. I love you ,Linda

January 8,2007 (To Graeme) Welcome to Australia! How was your flight? I am concentrating on my study now. I promise you I will study hard.I was eager to meet you and Linda in Hoian last Tuesday. Now I am in Hochiminh city. Time passes very fast. But that is one of my happinest memories . Before the trip, I'd had many feelings such as happiness, worry,etc..I didn't know how can I speak English well? How can you understand what I said. However, everything was good. I really like this trip. It was the most exciting trip that I've had. Everything was the first time for me. I've travelled by plane. I've stayed in a hotel with all conveniences. I've had Western dinner at Linda's home. I've spoken English for many days. They were great. I never dreamt that I would be so lucky. Thank you for everything you and Linda did for us. Non and Dung said: ”thank you for looking after me and Dan.'' I can broaden my understanding throughout the trip.Thank you very much for your care during the time we were in Hoian.

26 June 2007 (To Linda) You are in Hoian now. After a long-term travelling, staying at home is the most comfortable thing for you now. Am I right? Hien and Lan say thanks a lot for gifts. They are very nice.

After meeting you and sharing many things in life, I thought a lot last night. You know, you and my aunt have some similarities. The most similary thing is benevolence. In my life, you are the good examples for me. From the first time you met us to now, it is not a long time but it is long enough for us to appreciate your kindness. I am very grateful to everyone who helped us. But if you had not appealed to everyone for raising fund, they would not have known who we are to help. You and Graeme are always kind of us. I never forget anything that you did. The first time I met you, I spoke English to you. The snug dinners I had with you, the interesting stories we shared together..... To raise enough money for us, you and Graeme must appeal to everyone from many places and you even spend your money helping us. We know that you are always busy for us. We are moved by the love of yours. Compared with others whom you are helping, our expenses are much more than their expenses. We know it. Because we are living in a big city where everything has to be paid money. The cost of living is expensive. Beside school fees, we must pay for others which support our studies.

I want to share my thought with you. You know, we took care of an old person to earn money to support our lives in the past. I think you met her when you came Non's home in Vungtau. Did you remember? But she died four months ago. So everything is getting harder and harder. My aunt must try her best to sew clothes. This is a reason why I want to find a part-time job. I have not found a job which is suitable for my time and my ability yet. I am considering about this. However I must delay all my plans until next month - after the entrance examination. When I get a job, I will certainly tell you about it. Thanks for your sympathy with our background. Linda, I want to say that I lOVE YOU.Please accept our apologies for everything we made you unpleasant.Kiss you one thousand kisses. Your Vietnamese daughter Thuy Trang

19 July 2007 (To CEF) Now I am on my first year college. It is wonderful! I used to think that I did not have chance to do this before. Remember our childhood. My aunt had to earn money by sewing clothes and selling vegetarian food. After our parents got divorced, we were brought up by Non’s love. Nobody looked after us but her and our grandmother. She did not want us to be illiterate so she took us from the countryside to Hochiminh city in order that we went to school. In addition, she could be next to us to take care of us. To bring three children up was not easy. Everyday she had to stay up very late to sew clothes. I sometimes caught her fall asleep on the sewing- machine. Making clothes was not enough, she had to get up early to cook vegetarian food on the fifteenth day of the lunar month. My aunt cooked, Dung carried me to the market to sell it. (I love Non so much. She sacrifices her whole life for us).

We were gone to school due to Dung’s help. She is a teacher at primary school. We grew up more with every passing day, household expenses and school fees became higher. How could she have enough for these. Thus my brother left school. He learnt how to repair motorbikes to help my aunt. Everything seemed to be difficult. However it changed when we met Linda by chance. She cared about our family and sympathized with our circumstances. After that, she appealed to everyone for helping us. Since then, we have been studying thanks to educational support. It has had a strong effect on me. First, the most important thing is that it helps me continue my study. Then I can make my dreams come true. I realize how important study is. It is the key to success. Only study helps me change my life and makes my life better. To be supported in my study, I must try my best and must be responsible for all my actions in order to not live up to everyone’s kind heart. I also wish to be a successful person to do charitable things such as help poor children like me or old people. Because I know that the wealth’s greatest satisfaction is when I help others while I am living.

In addition, if I did not have the educational support, I would be not like now. It not only has changed my life, it also has changed the life of my aunt. It makes her not worry about our school fees everyday. She feels happy when we go to school. Her aspiration is to see us to grow up and have good jobs. It becomes true day by day. I understand and respect it so I will try and overcome every obstacle that appears on my way trusting I will succeed.

31st January, 2008 (To Graeme) I have just finished some tests at school. Now I am on Tet's holidays. About books, I mean to read business books which are taught at college in your country. You can help me if that is convenient for you. Books in Vietnam, I can buy them by myself because I have got school fees from Linda. It includes money for buying books. In addition, I bought some books about Communication in Business. They also provide me with basic words in Business I need. I am very happy that you are always concerned about my study. Thank you so much! Oh, how is your Vietnamese? I am sure that your Vietnamese is better than before thanks to last trip in Vietnam. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.Love, Trang P/S: These photos were taken last Saturday when we said goodbye to our teacher. She teaches Statistics to us. She is very nice. She travels many countries such as Canada, America, German,...so she knows a lot.

24th February, 2008 (To Graeme) Thanks, my sister is fine. Now she lives and learns how to sew with Non. I work in Ashima - the mushroom hot pot restaurant. It is on Tu Xuong street, district 3. Do you know it? After studying, I go to there to work. 6 days/week. The exam in March? You know, my school divide into 2 semester. The first semester consists of 9 subjects. Before Tet, we just took 5 subjects so we will take the exam to finish all subjects of the first semester.

College name: The College of Foreign Economic Relations.
Location: 287 Phan Dinh Phung street, ward 15, Phu Nhuan District, Hochiminh city, Vietnam.
Course name: Commercial Marketing.
Course Length: Three years
When I finish: next year (about 9/2009)

My preferred jobs after college: Marketers in Restaurants, Hotels.
Hobbies: travel, read books especially love stories....
Work I've already done: Tutor, Waitress.
A few things I'd love to do: many things such as do charity, learn more foreign languages, travel some famous countries in Europe and your country. Love, Trang

25th March 08 (To one of her sponsors) I am glad to hear from you. Thanks so much for caring about my family. We are fine. There are five people in my family: my grandmother, my aunt, my eldest brother, my younger sister and I.

Now I live and study in Hochiminh city. In addition, I have a part time job- a server in a mushroom hot pot restaurant. It is a new job for me. As you know, I am learning about Marketing. Actually, I would like to do marketing in restaurants and hotels aspects. If I get a chance, I will learn more about this subject. So I think this job will make me get more experience.

The restaurant where I work is rather famous and special. They serve mainly food which is made from mushroom. They are about 20 kinds of mushroom. Most of them are imported from Japan, Korea and China. Have you ever heard this restaurant?

Yes, you're right. There is so much need in the world, especially in Africa. You know, since our parents divorced, we have lived with my grandmother and my aunt. My aunt is a Buddhist so we are always taught to love people with heart. I promised that I would help unfortunate people when I was a little girl. Now I still remember that promise. Of course, I will make it come true one day. But to do this, I have to study well to get a good job. And you and your friends help me to do it. Thanks a lot! I also would love to hear about your family, your home. How long do you live in Vietnam? I hope to have opportunity to meet you. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

19th July 2008 (To Linda) You know, for me, last month was a busy month. Firstly, I was petechial fever. In addition, I had to take an examination to finish this school year. Now I am free because I am in summer holidays so I am willing to meet you whenever you want or…. have a vacation with you.Yeah, I am acquainted with this job, this environment. I like it. However, I am afraid that I must stop work for studying English in the evening. I really want to keep this job. I have learnt many things from my customers, my manager and my friends. What a pity! I am looking to seeing you soon. Lots of love, Trang

13th July 2009 (To Linda) I have just finished my graduating report. Now I only focus on the final exam which will be in July. The exam is very important because its result will affect my degree directly. After graduating, if my result is excellent, I will take one more exam to apply a university. It takes 18 months to finish my course in university. Because I think the higher qualification is, the bigger chance is.

My aunt also wants me to study more so she expects a lot. If I do this, I will arrange to study and work. I know I still don't have enough skills to get a good job now. Then I will apply for simple jobs which relate to my qualification such as sales person, marketer or even work which do not relate to but it is useful for my job in the future. As a graduated student, I need to learn experience from seniors so I will begin my job from basic. About my marriage and children, I have not thought about them yet. Maybe I will marry when I am 28 years old or later. Of coures, having a house and a good job is the most necessary thing before getting married because I want to create a better life for my children. Having an opportunity to go abroad is always my dream. I do not have intention to stay oversea. I just wish to have chance to know more about the world. For me, Vietnam is always my fatherland.

15th July 2009 (To Linda) I have determined to do more studies since I started to study at college. Living in Vietnam for many years, you completely understand about Vietnam's education system. There are many people who have higher qualifications. I have not mentioned it to you because I'm not sure. When I have the final result, I will tell you about it as I want to make you surprised. I just takes 18 months to finished my course. At that time I will get two degree about Marketing and Business Administration. I am grateful to you for helping me study for many years. You help me a lot. Therefore If I have an opportunity to study more this time, I will earn money to pay my school fees. I think I will be able to have a job to support my life and my study after graduating from college.

16th March 2010 It sounds great that you and Linda will learn how to dive. It must have been very interesting. Where will you dive? The weather in Saigon is different from Sydney. It’s still been hot without rain. There have even some forest fires somewhere in Vietnam.

Sorry Graeme, it has a change in my exam. I won’t take English exam instead of taking two subjects- Marketing and International marketing. I am going to prepare my lessons for the exam in the end of March. Besides, I still teach English as a tutor. First, I want to give children who are hope to go on to university only advice. When you decide to go on to university, you should find out the course which you’d like to study carefully. Is it suitable for your ability, your hobby and your passion? If you say “yes” to all questions that realate to your course, you should choose that course and otherwise, you should think more clearly to have a right decision because your choice will affect your life in the future.

About me, I am one of the children who are supported by your organization. Thanks to your help, I has completed college. I studied Marketing at the College of Foreign Economic Relations. I graduated from my school in August. Three years to study was not a long time but it was enough for me to have good memories. Especially, when I and my friends learnt about military academies. We had to live in dormitory for a week so we could have a chance to share our feelings. It made us closer. After that course, I had more best friends. When you go to university, you will have to change your ways in studying. You need more self-consciousness and more confidence because your teachers won’t tell what you do like studying at high school. For me, working in group and giving presentations were best things when I was at college. I could express my ideas and creation. Maybe, you will find hard to make friends since students are from many different areas Finally, studying at college or university is a big change in your life. If you study hard, you will get a good future. Best wishes to all. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon. Love, Trang

26th April, 2010 (To Linda and Graeme) I had good news a few days ago. Of course, I'd like to share it with you. It was that ……….I passed the entrance exam of University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City.

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