I'll admit, I've been incredibly lazy today. So there's not too much to update you on other than one terrible burrito. Today is my day to let my body recover from the miles and miles of walking I've been doing and hopefully heal my aching feet.
But I feel like I have to address some of the things I've seen thus far in Vietnam that are truly saddening and that is the exploitation of children here. As in every impoverished country I've ever been, children here are used for money-making purposes. It's a very effective tool, I understand that. Who can resist the world's cutest 2-3 year old, with such tiny, tiny hands, trying to sell you gum?
But these children... 6-10 year old kids stay up ALL night long, with little to no supervision, trying to sell junk to drunk tourists. They hang out by the clubs, singing and dancing to Jay-Z, Rihanna, Usher, Nicki Minaj, imitating dance moves they've probably seen in these clubs or on music videos. Some of the girls are dressed up in school uniforms, but closer inspection reveals they are fakes.
While eating dinner with a nice couple I met yesterday, a young boy comes up trying to sell roses. The man I'm with says he doesn't want any roses. The kids strikes up a deal with him - they play thumb war and if the man wins, then no rose, but if the kid wins, the man will have to buy a rose. So they play. And then the man pins the boy's thumb and blood squirts all over his hand. And then the man takes a closer look - burns cover the boy's hands and feet, and most of his nails are falling off. When he related this story to our server, he reluctantly told us that if the boy doesn't sell enough roses, that's his punishment, cigarette burns.
Overall, there seems to be a general lack of concern for these children. I watched as a child tripped and fell and nearly got run over by a motorbike, and even after the incident, his mother didn't notice or care to supervise him closer. I see how their shoes are too small. A toddler, coming to stare at me, slipped down the slick stairs and muddied his shins. You could see there was some pain there, but he was brave enough not to cry and tried brushing himself off. And then his mother saw how he had dirtied himself and beat him all the way to the bathroom, all because he came around to stare at ME.
These "anecdote" weren't just stories I heard, these are things I've actually seen with my own eyes in the very short amount of time I've been here. This can't possibly be the full extent, and I'm terrified to discover any more.
Such disturbing normalcy wrenches at my soul. How can this problem be solved? Who can deliver these children from such an unfair life? When they are older, they will perpetuate these same unfairnesses to their own children. This cycle has to put to an end, but how? Just tell me what to do and I'll do it.