Summer 2014

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

We arrived at Ho Chi Minh cancer hospital for the first time, full of determination. The moment we entered the hall, a scene captured my eyes: young children (between the ages of 4 and 9) lying prostrate in the aisle. The countenance of the very first child that I saw was deformed due to pervasive cells. A very dark bruise took over his entire right eye; it looked as if his head would fall off at any second. We sat down on the bed, and his mom greeted us with a welcoming smile. She started telling their story: her only child was diagnosed hydrocephalus and his head was a ticking bomb that could blow off at any moment. Hydrocephalus took away their home, their normal life, their happiness.

After a while, with her hands in mine, she burst out crying and urgently asked for my help. I looked over to the child, and he, too, was looking me straight in the eyes, but with the brightest smile I have ever seen.

The summer brought sweltering heat, expanded its suffocating air exhausting everyone's taxed spirits. We wanted to breathe a new life, create a caring and warm environment for those children. Sitting quietly at the end of the hall, I turned on music to tear off the heavy silence in the hall and waited for my appointment with the...

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