Bob with Tam and her family

You may be concerned that your donation is too small to help anyone, or that we are interested only in major contributions. Rest assured that in Vietnam a dollar stretches a very long way and there are plenty of people who appreciate a helping hand. Perhaps you might be interested in a couple of Bob’s personal experiences.

Tam – topped her class (update)

Tam is now the top student in a community of many schools. Her very humble home now sports a small desk for her to work at and she has her own wardrobe for book storage. The walls of the house are literally papered with Tam’s certificates of achievement. It is not only her parents who are proud of her – her commune and indeed her community have taken this battler to heart. Ngoc grew up kind of tough himself before emerging as a success story and could empathise with Tam and so we learned of the youngster’s progress and circumstances in rather more detail than we might otherwise have done.

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Mr Dong

Upon reaching my hotel in Hue during my third visit to Vietnam, I was approached by a dignified man of perhaps 50 years who offered his services as a cyclo (three-wheel cycle) guide for the day. He had excellent English, and knew his city intimately, so after a fine day we dined together.

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A trip to Hanoi in August 2011 revealed an enormous amount of goodwill towards Platypus, and good advice was offered by officials who work with those doing it tough. Rather than rush about sprinkling school fees all over the place, a more selective approach will be employed whereby people will receive what they need.

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Solid Men

Travelling off the main roads in Vietnam can be an interesting experience. Roads are sometimes quite atrocious as they are used by so many for so many different purposes. Throw in vehicles like the odd water buffalo-drawn cart, horrendously overloaded large Chinese trucks, buses loaded to the gills and sashaying about on dodgy springs, scooter-drawn livestock trailers, small versions of a mobile concrete mixer and mix in a handful of scooter riders travelling about without benefit of licence or even basic tuition and you have a recipe for interesting times.

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