Friday, February 26, 2010

You can’t measure the magic of a smile....

I’d like to introduce you to Quy. He is one of the young blind students in our English language course. He’s a terrific young guy, and he has a smile that can really light up a room. But that wasn’t always the case.

We first met Quy last April when he came to join us in Hanoi from a fairly remote community. He was quite shy and withdrawn so we had very little to do with him. Things had changed by the time we returned in September. He was all settled, he’d made some great friends and he’d really come out of his shell. Quy was quite chatty and loved the karaoke. At one point he burst out laughing – and we were mortified!!

Quy’s front teeth were truly rotten, missing and broken, some of them snapped off at the gum. In reflex I turned to Toan and said “we need to fix his teeth”. The teachers thought this was a great idea as he was having so much difficulty learning to speak in English. As an English teacher myself I wondered how he could possibly produce those sounds that require the presence of our upper front teeth. Anything that begins with ‘L’ ‘T’ ‘Th’ etc..  

“yup, we need to fix his teeth”

Once again we were on a mission.

I put out an email to our great support network in Vietnam. Once again, it didn’t take long to get a response. Our good friend Linda provided us with the name and contact details of a dentist who she thought might help. Linda is an absolute wealth of information (a lot of which can be found on this fabulous website all about Hanoi and she’s always happy to share.

Toan then picked up the batton and made contact with Dr Quang Duy Pham. Dr Quang not only agreed to treat Quy but very kindly gave us a substantial discount on the treatment.

Quy was so excited at the prospect of having his teeth fixed. There was never a complaint, only gratitude as he went for numerous dental visits and treatments. Toan did a great job, he was such a dedicated carer as he organized and ferried Quy back and forth to all appointments.  Treatment was soon complete and Toan let me know it was a success, everyone was happy. Great!

On our recent return to Hanoi, we were having fun at the Blind Association when I heard a voice behind me… “Hello Ba Alison, thank you for my teeth!”.   I can  honestly say I was not prepared for what I saw. The transformation that has taken place in Quy is wonderful. Before me stood a very confident, handsome young guy with a huge, million dollar smile!

I was speechless, I eventually muttered ‘Quy… wow!.... look at you!!” the students laughed and lots of fun, friendly banter flew, all of them talking about how handsome  he is now. Quy was beaming.

It was so lovely to see that his friends were genuinely celebrating his good fortune. Obviously you don’t need to see a beautiful smile to feel it’s magic.

I asked Quy what his mother thought of his handsome new smile. He replied. “Oh, she doesn’t know anything about it yet, it is her special gift when I return to visit my family”.

So many gifts just keep on giving. It’s not hard to imagine what a gift this will be to Quy’s mother and the rest of his family. 
Your kind donations are changing lives.

Thank you so much for your support.

Kind regards 
Alison & Rose

(please drop us a quick email so we can acknowledge your kindness)



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