The Spring 2012 Veterans (US) for Peace Tour of Viet Nam included a day spent at two centers for children, a project of the Danang Association of Victims of Agent Orange (DAVA). Our group was treated like royalty! Clearly, visitors are welcome.
At each center, we were greeted by a receiving line of children. Each of us walked in, single-file, shaking hands and exchanging smiles and boisterous hellos.
The children have a variety of physical and mental deformities. Common physical traits in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation of victims appears to be missing fingers, many having only two, and webbing of fingers. I was acutely aware of these, as I shook hands. Most, if not all, were mentally challenged. Still, most seemed genuinely joyful. Their joy was really evident during their performance time which I captured on video (which I still don’t know how to upload!).
After their talent show, we were asked to perform! In desperation, we, 13 adults, somehow managed a unique rendition of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. It was NOT pretty, but they loved us anyway!