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In April 2004 I traveled to Vietnam to paint a mural in an orphanage.   For the past four years I, through Amerasian Network (www.amerasiannetwork.org) , had been sponsoring a little girl in an orphanage in Quang Ngai, Vietnam. 

Wanting to do more, I proposed painting a mural and was connected with the GoVap district orphanage in Saigon.  My 25yr. old daughter, Logan Page Fordham, who was back-packing around the world, decided to meet me in Saigon and together we painted five murals in hallways, baby rooms, and classrooms.
 
The experience confirmed our beliefs that art matters. The children and staff became excited as soon as we started drawing the murals on the walls, and they kept a close watch on the progress, giving us a huge smile and a thumbs up whenever they passed by.  It was clear to us that besides making them smile and lifting their spirits, these paintings were adding a bit of hope and brightness to their environment. 

The first and largest mural, 17.5' x 5.5' which is painted on a wall between two newborn baby rooms full of beautiful babies waiting to be adopted, is entitled "Enough for Everyone".  In it there are lots of brightly clad animal characters, all shapes, sizes and species, harmoniously moving along, either pouring tea or receiving ; everyone sharing. 

A smaller mural 3.5' x 3.5'  also in this area, shows two lands, connected by a golden bridge with sailboats floating above amongst the clouds, carrying happy, hand-waving children off to new places and great adventures.
 
Some observers had to try their hand at painting, a brief time for some, but for one orphan in particular it was a great opportunity to share with us his interest in art.  His name is Jrang.  He's 18 yrs. old and has been in this orphanage since his mother dropped him off as a baby.  His deformed hands and feet are a result of a medication his mother took during her pregnancy. 

Jrang's work ethics, abilities despite his disabilities, and love for art has inspired me to start a sponsorship for him to be tutored in art so that he may someday become the art teacher ar this orphanage which presently has no art program.  I'm now in the process of trying to make that happen.

This, plus more mural painting and a project to install colorful mobiles in a hospital ward will keep me connected to the orphanage. 

 

 

 

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