My Story

In 1963 I finished high school and did not know what to do with myself, so I took a year off. That year I read a magazine with a French Catholic sister’s picture on the cover of the magazine. She held a new born baby she picked up from a garbage bin in front of her Convent, with the address 38 Tu Xuong, Saigon ( Vietnam).

My Story

My story was written at the Benedict Inn Monastery in Indiana in a Cross Cultural Workshop facilitated by Maureen:

Day two:  Wednesday 17 October 2007 Xuyen Dangers
One hour alone in my room #215, Benedict Inn, to reflect on my life story to share with two other participant missioners , Elizabeth and Art

THEMES

The Compassion, the Role Model, the Inspiration, and the Christian Faith
The Small Miracle, the Generosity, the Protestant Assist, and the Catholics,
Social work and Christianity, Believe People Potential

The Christian Faith

I was born a Catholic in a village 100% Catholic.  My families and many families in my village were refugees because Viet Nam County was divided into two after many years of war between the North and the South. We moved to South when the Communist took over the North, we were worried that we could not practice Christianity if we stayed…

Role Model: Sister Francoise and the baby in the garbage bin

In 1963 I finished high school and did not know what to do with myself, so I took a year off.  That year I read a magazine with a French Catholic sister’s picture on the cover of the magazine.  She held a new born baby she picked up from a garbage bin in front of her Convent, with the address 38 Tu Xuong, Saigon ( Vietnam).

I read the story, liked it so much that I wished I could meet this sister one day.  I cut the article out of the magazine and kept it in my purse.  A few months later, I saw an advertisement of Caritas School of social work accepting applications.  I compared the address and it had the same address of Sr. Francoise’s school: St. Vincent De Paul / Sisters of Charity: 38 Tu Xuong Street, Saigon (Vietnam).  That pushed me to apply.  All by myself, I went to explore, to apply, and got accepted.

The first morning when we went to mass, I saw Sister Francoise.  A tiny lady of my dream led a line of other sisters in the hall of the chapel.  I was able to meet Sr. Francoise and I began my social work education in 1964…

Compassion, Protestant assist, Catholic

In 1965, CWS (Vietnam Christian Service VNCS) began to assist Caritas School of social work.

In 1969, after I graduated from Caritas, I worked for one year.  Then I was called to be given a scholarship to go to the Philippines to study Master of Social work.  Two Master of Social work holders, the Brendens, I still remember of CWS explored the Philippines.  They thought Viet Nam should have more social workers with advance degree in Social work, and thought perhaps the Philippines’ curriculum and practice was quite appropriate for Viet Nam at that time.  They gave two scholarships to Caritas School of social work and I was given one.

Generosity, and has Faith and saw the Potential

In 1974, after I returned from the Philippines with Master of Social work, I became a bit ‘radical’ or ‘activist’.  I thought to myself “I know CWS gave me a scholarship, but I wished I could look around at maybe some other agency that was more Vietnamese.  CWS was patient and so generous that they gave me a first month of salary, lent me a car and a driver so I can look around for one month to find the place that ‘most suitable' for my new advanced degree: Master  of Social Work.

I went around for 15 days and returned to CWS with the presence of the Executive director Dr. Gets who was ill in the hospital.  I thanked him for allowing me to explore, and I did have a chance to explore, so I said to Dr. Gets, “I think at this time CWS (VNCS) is the best for me to contribute in doing social work in Viet Nam, so may I work with you?”  Dr. Gets cried, his wife cried, and I cried.  Since then not only I, but my husband Skip Dangers, also have worked with CWS ever since.  CWS saw the potential in me and gave me a chance!

Social work education changed my life:  After the Viet Nam war in 1975, I traveled, worked, and lived in Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.  Most of those years were with CWS and Global Ministries and always social work.

Work in Laos: all of the above THEMES

Interfaith/CWS is assisting the Buddhists, youth, children, women, and men in need.

After 12 years in Laos:  The 5 Children development centers, five schools, five villages, an orphanage, a drug rehabilitation center, a Faculty of Social sciences, and National University of Laos (NUOL) are now benefitted by the work that CWS and Global Ministries by my knowledge of Social work.  I do combine all of the above themes:  Faith, Compassion, See People’s Potential, Generosity, Role models, Inspiration, Interfaith, Social Work, and Christianity in my work.  With all those we are helping, many potential children, youth who are very poor and in need of support to have an alternative in living, working, and in studying.  We do capacity building and give them a chance to have a good Social work profession with strong commitment and compassion.  They in turn will help others who are in need in Laos, a very poor country, with critical needs for many more years to come.  My dream has come true many times despite the obstacles and the challenges.  My next dream is that in three more years there will be around 40 professional trained social workers in Laos of over 5 million people for the first time.  For over 32 years working in Social work I am still passionate with it.  The reasons and how it happened was a long journey and I thank all those who helped me, transformed and shaped my life, and gave me an education and a strong faith serving people in need.  “I believe every child and every human being has potential, give them a chance and the potential will develop into its fullest.” is my motto.

The song below is one of my favorite songs:

A Little LOVE song

A little Love, a little Love,
that slowly grows and grows,
Not one that comes and goes
That is all I want from You

Some sunny day
To look up to the sky
A hand to help me by
That is all I want form you

Don’t leave me now
Please tell me that you care
Remember when you give
You also get a share

Don’t leave me now,
I have no time to wait
Tomorrow might not come
By then maybe too late

By then maybe too late, by then maybe too late…

(sang by Lakan of PETA in 2001 in Laos, has been translated into Lao by Bounmy and we made it into a play and performed many times in all of our child centers/Xuyen)

Thank you Maureen for the guidelines you gave of “REMEMBER The JOURNEY” that helped me organize my thoughts through the themes for writing my story.

Xuyen Dangers is a social work supervisor in Laos who trains Social work university students as interns in Donkoi Children Development Center.

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