Portishead couple fly to Vietnam to see sponsored child
PUBLISHED: 06:20 13 January 2018
A 12,000-mile round trip has been undertaken by a Portishead couple so they could meet a child they sponsor.
Pamela and Steve Farrant flew to Vietnam to visit 11-year-old Ngo who they have supported since she was a baby.
The journey was arranged through Plan International UK charity – which Pamela has been a donor to for the past decade.
And she jumped at the chance to go to Asia and see Ngo.
Pamela said: “I started sponsoring Ngo when she was only about six months old.
“I always knew I wanted to go and visit her but I wanted to make sure she would be old enough to remember me, so I waited until after she turned 10.
“Ngo was at school finishing her exams when we arrived, but as soon as she finished she came hurtling in on her bike.
“We were all sat in the veranda and she gave her mum a huge cuddle and said hello to us, though she was desperately shy.
“She gained confidence as the day went along and had learned some basic English to say to us which was lovely.
“Her mum showed us all the certificates she’s been given from school, and that was great to see.”
Although the families live amid different cultures on opposite sides of the world, and primarily speak different languages, a connection was discovered.
Pamela said: “It transpired both Steve and Ngo’s grandfather had been in the army, with her grandfather fighting in the Vietnam War.
“They really bonded over both being ex-forces, even though they live in such different worlds.”
While in Vietnam, 58-year-old Steve and 65-year-old Pamela visited a school built by Plan International UK.
The Thai Nguyen province in North Vietnam is not blessed with many education facilities but the school has helped. More than 80 children receive teaching which otherwise they would be without.
Pamela said the trip had been wonderful. She added: “Every year Plan International UK sends me a photo of Ngo and a report about the work it’s doing in her community. When I decided to visit, I took all the photos and put them in a photo album for her.
“Ngo spent such a long time looking at it and seemed excited to learn they were all of her.
“I would really like to visit Ngo again when she’s a bit older, the trip was an overwhelming experience.”