These last two weeks have been the most impacting weeks of my life. They have shaped the culminating experience of this fellowship, and have allowed me to see things from every direction. I will reveal what it felt like to have my soul ripped out of me, being locked in a cage for almost a week. This is the first part. The second part will go over my liberation. "Justice first, charity later" said Odon Vallet, a professor from Sorbonne University in France and philanthropist, as I ate with him at the historic Saigon Morin Hotel in Hue. That one line from him is exactly what I brought to the center, and to myself. I needed it, the center needed it, and the country of Vietnam needs it. In the end, after a life defining week and a half, I succeeded, leaving the center in peace and good spirits, no longer with a heavy heart. I left that center smiling, smiling along with the children, their mothers, and Mr. Hung, the gardener and father figure of the center. And here I am, sitting back in my paternal grandfather's house (my maternal grandparents have returned to Vietnam for some time), listening to the sounds of life in the village of Hai Nhuan. Its good to be home. Its good to be free.
I need some time to return to America first, then I will follow up with the final three entries of this blog. I can't wait to share what I discovered - and what I did with it.