After only five months, the building shell of Francis’ Don Bosco Shelter can already be seen. Here is his report:
The house will provide room for about fifty children. They will stay between six and twelve months. During this time, the children will be taught the basics of a profession and also get medical care. We will see to it that they can live well and recuperate.
After finishing their basic professional training, the children will either go back home to their families or get employment at various firms. Other children will remain in the group and we will try to find industrial projects for them to work in. Most of the children will not stay long, but as long as they live and can still work, we will try to help them live a life worth living – even though we know we can not always be a success, because some of the children have a real hard time. Our goal is to integrate them and to teach them to live self-autonomously, rather than having to see themselves as the waste of society.
I often think about medical care: many of the children would not be as badly handicapped if their illness had been diagnosed earlier. Many of them could even have been healed. For them, what we would need is a children’s hospital. The parents only bring their children to the hospital when they are ill already. Because they are poor, the parents do not bring their children to the hospital, especially the farmers. A farmer who earns 1.000.000 (30 Euros) after three months of hard labour cannot take his children to the hospital. Even property owners do not have enough money to pay for an operation.
We lack the medical competence. We have many nuns. Most of them only study theology and philosophy. What we need is nuns, priests and monks who study sociology, medicine, technology, economy…
We in the poor Vietnam have a lot of beautiful churches and parsonages where the priests live like kings. Everybody seems to think that faith and prayer alone can save the world. I get rather nervous when I see a beautiful church in a poor village and rather disappointed when I see the priest driving a nice car. I hate it. I prayed so often: do not build beautiful churches in VN. Build schools, children’s shelters, hospitals, clinics, students’ dormitories, canteens… do something for the education. If Vietnam does the right thing, there will no longer be any poverty in VN thirty years from now…
Please send no money for churches to Vietnam. Build schools, universities, professional schools. WE HAVE ENOUGH CHURCHES TO LAST FOR A HUNDRED YEARS.
(Translated by EG)