On October 8th 2015, our bus was on the way to Ha Giang. Even though more than half of the car is full of goods (soap, toothbrush, medicine, blanket, clothes that are donated by respected organizations) and everyone had to sit close to each other so that we can have enough seats for everyone, we were so happy and excited, we were excited because this is the first time we, Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH), with our graduated students host this meaningful event, we were happy because Ha Giang children will have soap to wash their hands before every meals, new toothbrushes waiting for them before they go to bed and after they wake up and finally, they will have new warm clothes to wear this winter.

Mr. Tran Thi Phuc Hang_ Head of Department of Student Affairs said to us: “Few years ago, when we were on Ha Giang, seeing those little hands shaking because of the cold, playing with dirt then picking up food immediately without having any knowledge about the harm of not washing hand made us worry about the hygiene condition in here. Being a teacher in HSPH makes me feel that I have responsible for this. And that’s how Hygiene Habits for Ha Giang Children event was created. Thanks to all supports and helps from our graduated student. Without those help and support from all of you, I don’t think the event could be this success.”

That day, on the bus, everybody was so happy, we practiced again and again How to wash our hand-lesson in the most exciting way so that the kids can easily remember how to wash their hand correctly. I can see love in everyone eyes. There was a person who got car sick, she said that she wanted to go to Ha Giang, go to meet the children, she would go there, despite how bad the car sick could be.

In the morning October 9th 2015, the whole crew arrived. The first stop in Ha Giang is medical station of Thuan Hoa ward, Vi Xuyen district. A lady who had a handshake with our head delegation is head of the medical station, Mrs. Som, she is also our graduated student. She said: “Everything is like a dream. I still remember that day when I tried to apply illiterate medical, I thought I couldn’t be accepted by the school. But when I called to the school, surprisingly, teachers guided me very carefully, meticulously. Until now, I still cannot believe that I could be accepted to study at school and became who I am now”, she cried happily while holding everyone hands.

On that day, beside our school, there were doctors from Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics, a group of young doctors from Ha Giang and Ha Xuyen Union also joined the this event. We come from different places, we come from different union, everyone has the different work, but on that day, we all worked for one thing, for Hygiene Habits for Ha Giang Children event.

Our bus went to Thuan Hoa ward kindergarten and Thuan Hoa B, Vi Xuyen ward primary school in order to give our gift and free examination for 350 students in those school

Rain kept getting heavier and heavier, but from far away, we could see parents carrying their children on their backs to schools. Those big round eyes of the kids keep smiling with us. The weather was really cold and the kids didn’t wear much clothes, they had no shoes to wear, nothing to stay warm, just enough to cover their little skinny bodies. Seeing those poverty made teachers like us deplore for them.

The event started with a speech from miss head of HSPS student management office, she promised that this event will be pioneer of soap-supply to upland kids, and if this event success, in next 5 years, Hanoi School of Public Health will continue doing Hygiene for Ha Giang Kids.

After dancing and singing performances from Ha Giang students, the event continued with song that our HSPS members taught the kids how to wash their hand, clean their mouth, teeth properly. When the music was on, every kids danced with the music while following instruction from our teachers.

After the show, a group of young doctors from Ha Giang started to do the physical examination and giving out medication for the kids. Teacher from our school quietly prepared gifts (milk, clothes, candy, soap, tooth brush) for each kid.

Then the group of doctors coming from Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics started to show upland people how to do the first aid for kid injuries. Knowing that there are some people who can’t speak Kinh well, the doctors explain things very slowly, patiently to each person. Even though I’m just a watcher, but in my mind, I’m really thankful their spirit, their help, their support- Thank them for being doctor by its own mean.

In the end of the day, seeing smiles, joy on those little faces, all of the tired, car sick seemed to disappear in our mind, and be replaced by those smile, those happy faces, those innocent eyes and those hand waving like the washing hand song

Hopefully, someday, the bus of HSPH will come back to Ha Giang to meet the kids, new hopes of Ha Giang

(Hà Giang)