Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Ripple Effect ............. Quan's story

As so often happens when we begin something, we think we know precisely what we are doing. Our goals and objectives seem so clear.

And so it was with Quan, our goal was very simple, we wanted to improve his life, to give him the opportunity to leave his hillside home, at least for a little while. To learn to read - and best case scenario, to hopefully give him some sort of employment prospects for the future.

We weren’t too sure how the massage would go, Quans hands were a problem as his illness had also led to extreme arthritis and pain in both his hands. But, even if the massage didn’t work, there were so many other positives to be had, it was definitely worth a shot.

For as long as I've known Quan he has required pain killers to give him relief from the constant pain in his hands, we would buy them for him in bulk. As you all know, the massage course was very successful and Quan is now working and he really enjoys his job.

On our last visit Quan invited us to a lunch he and the others at the centre had prepared, (very good too I might add!) I asked him if he needed me to pick up a supply of pain killers for him…

I was so surprised when he responded;

“Oh, no thank you, the pain has gone from my hands now, I haven’t needed the pain medicine for a long time!”

It turns out that the constant use of his hands as he gives massage, has brought great relief to his arthritic condition.

After lunch Quan very proudly announced that he had something to show me. He took off into a back room with his friend and colleague Thuy, and returned pushing a wheelchair! …. He very proudly explained that with help from those at the Association he had bought a second hand wheelchair for his father who has been incapacitated since suffering a stroke a number of years ago. He also announced that he sends money to his mother each month.

We had a great laugh as Rose and I gave Quan a quick spin in the wheelchair, great fun!!

For just a minute, I couldn’t help but look at him and think back to the withdrawn, lonely boy I met last year, and the fears his mother had for his future. This same boy has now enhanced the standard of living of his entire family.

Not part of the plan ………but a really nice ripple effect.


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