Chronicle: Mr. Vinh – the Teacher of Huong Duong Centre
 Friday, 07 October 2011 – Written by thevinh   

Music audiences are quite familiar with a gentle man, The Vinh, singing and holding a guitar with only one hand; and maybe they do not know more about him, a caring but strict and strong teacher, a director of a patronage centre for children.

Coming to the Huong Duong Patronage Centre for Orphan and Disabled Children to give 40 old bikes, which have been donated by our Facebook friends, we come across The Vinh the teacher and his student busy designing a stage for the 1 year ceremony of the establishment of the centre (on Sep 25th).

Busy with the center’s activities though, guitarist The Vinh also arranges his time to participate in some charity fund-raising music programs.  From Oct 13th to Oct 26th, he will fly to Japan for a show for the Agent Orange victims’ Pacific Fund under an invitation from Japan- Vietnam Peace and Friendship Pro- motion Council (JVPF).

1. Setting up the stage with creativity so that it will look different from the one in the last Moon festival is “an assignment” given to the students by The Vinh their teacher, which is as in his method of training them some skills besides the knowledge from school books… On the weekend, The Vinh has enough time just to finish a bowl of rice then he has to be in the class on time at 2 pm. Filing up 30 small tables, the Sep 24th afternoon’s class has over 40 students in grade 11 (many of them attend the class from outside of the centre) making some questions enthusiastically.

Seeing teacher Vinh busy moving like a pin wheel working as a director  holding other positions such as an accountant, a secretary, a supervisor, also a core teacher of Math, Physics and Chemistry conducting tens of classes every week, no one feels little great admiration for him. On the contrary, telling about himself  and his long journal of levering tens of children, The Vinh shares with a slight and chronicle voice.“

The German Deutsche Bank is continuing to fund the center’s operation expenses for 43 school and tertiary students next year. So Huong Duong has no headache anymore and feels no worry about financial issues. I have my best gratitude for that. Moreover, the happiest thing is the trust and love from my friends and many people. At the time I did not have the Huong Duong’s establishment license paper, many brothers, friends and people had donated almost 1 billion dong”, he says in an optimism manner.

I recall for The Vinh’s messages sent to me one year ago: “I am really in need of construction materials...” (from “Tam long cua Hiep si 1 tay/the love of a one-handed Knight – on Tuoi Tre paper April 6th 2010). It makes many people so worried about his desire of setting up a patronage centre for orphan and disabled children only with his strong will, the encouragement from his friends, a license paper and … one bare hand. However, just 5 months later, a spacious centre locating at Quarter 2, My Phuoc Town, Ben Cat District, Binh Duong Province is named the Huong Duong Patronage Centre for Orphan and Disabled Children.

2. This year’s university admission exam: After working hard at teacher Vinh’s “heater/training Centre for exams” for 1 year, 16 candidates of HDC backpacked for the exam and they all passed it. (Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Sai Gon University, HCMC University of Technical Education, HCMC University of  Transport...). The results may be a surprise to others but under teach Vinh’s expectation.

“Among the 16 students, I thought that 5 of them would have  a result passing associate levels only but there are 14 ones passing university levels and 2 ones passing associate levels.”, he is smiling and says. In addition to the teaching work during the past 6 years, he seems to be very experienced in other positions like directing the functions of the centre, educating living regulations, stimulating the wills, training skills of independence... even though he just started this work in exactly 1 year .

Nguyen Dinh Phi (from Tanh Linh, Binh Thuan) is a little student, who just passed the exam for Sai Gon University, and he says about the teacher with his respectful eyes: “Since I come and stay here, I find that my will of studying hard has become bigger. He is very strict so any of us getting up late will have a punishment of doing the washing up.”

Indeed, the strictness, tidiness and self-esteem are all stated in an A4 paper of internal regulations of activities and study that teacher The Vinh uses as a tool for training the children: do not enter the opposite sex room, dirty clothes must not be kept in the bathroom for more than 3 days, a signature must be made in a borrowing books sheet, surfing the internet is allowed for half an hour for the day....

3. At present, Huong Duong Centre is home to 43 children of high school levels, who come from many other cities or provinces such as Binh Duong, Binh Thuan, Quang Nam, Thanh Hoa ... For each application sent to Huong Duong Centre, The Vinh conducts a visit to each family to know more about their background and meet with their form teacher so that he knows about their education level better.

In the next academic semester, the centre will receive 10 more children, making the total number up to 60 children. Moreover, The Vinh is planning to expand the centre so that it is able to “hold” 140 children who need a place to stay and study. About 16 students passing the exam, teacher Vinh has been travelling to and fro between Binh Duong and Sai Gon in order to find an accommodation for each of them, mainly some houses offered by his friends.

Despite of no request or commitment for the students after their graduation, he just recommends them doing best so that they can do something not only for themself but also for the next generations. His best wish for them is to be “a good human being”.

Because of the wish of “becoming a good human being”, he always recalls them for the education of personality and life styles through telling some stories. After the establishment, he sets up a book case with careful selections of types of books like books on how to learn to be a human being, research/reference books, books on national and foreign literature.

He tells me about numbers of classic books that he is looking for, a number of film series he is contacting the Phuong Nam Film for a resource of the weekend’s film time. Not only trying to “watering” the living philosophy for the children during the meals, the psychology teacher makes a plan to invite a psychologist for extra activities sections for the children.

Lost his father at the age of 4 and his mother at 7 meanwhile he lost one hand when he was once looking after the oxen, being undirected and hopeless, so he finds himself in difficult situations. Therefore, he understands better about the difficulties of the PWDs and orphans in finding a way to integrate into the society in the future. Therefore, with a desire of helping the children not to face psychological problems, not struggle in finding a way like he did in the past, The Vinh decided to open the Huong Duong Centre , as he says, “to help them move fast in a right direction.”

4. The muntingia trees are newly grown so it has small shade onto the little yard. But the warmness, smiles, and desire of study from the children are getting multiple up with the time passing by, which makes the faith of the former UE student greener.

The tear drops from the time of losing one broken hand due to falling off the ox’s back was dried for a long time, but the leaning will of the ox-boy (from Binh Thuan Province) of those time  is now flowing onto the children he is guiding. The Vinh, the guitarist, was not romantic in the past, is too busy to have time thinking of his own life. Nevertheless, his smiles stay on his face as he believes in everything he is doing and happy with each meaningful passing day....

Visitors come to Huong Duong Centre will notice of the lack of doors in the centre. Building a gate without doors is a purposed idea of The Vinh as he wants to confirm some desirable things: self-awareness, self-consciousness from each member about knowing themselves, knowing the inside and outside, today and tomorrow, doing best to be a useful person and last but not least, having an open heart... Around the open gate, the sun flowers grown by the teacher and his students are growing up under the sunlight...