A story of big chum Hong Nhung & little chum Hong Thy
"At Ceporer, there are always volunteers who have come to play with us, but rarely do they return for more than once. Only with CHUM that we get to see the mentors regularly, to converse,’ Hong Thy, a Little Chum, replies when she is asked about CHUM. Hong Thy has recently finished Year 7 at Phan Hong Hon Secondary School (Hoc Mon Dist). She lives with her maternal grandfather, an aunt, and a step-sister.
Perhaps due to such circumstance that Thy, though at first glance a jolly child, harbours many thoughts and worries. Thy shares that she loves her aunt, who cares for her as a mother would, the most. However, they don’t get to spend time with her aunt much, for her aunt works from day to night. Yet adolescence comes with so many new experiences, so many things to share, and as such CHUM brings Thy a friend and a mentor. ‘Nhung is like an elder sister to me, for she is so gentle and easy to talk to. I would tell her about school, about home. Sometimes, I would also ask her for help with my English homework,’ Thy says.
In 2017, with Nhung’s guidance, Thy won a small prize at CHUM’s ‘Just Write Contest’. She submitted a solid fiction piece, along with stage directions.Thy loves not only Nhung but many other mentors of CHUM, as if they are all her elder sisters and brothers.‘Every weekend when I come to Ceporer, there would always be a few Big Chums there. If Nhung isn’t there because she’s busy, I would talk to Trung, or Nguyen. Nguyen even taught me origami. I really look forward to the weekends thanks to them, because with them I can talk and learn so much.’
Sharing more about other activities that CHUM ran last year (2017), Thy reveals that the bad-habits-and-how-to-improve talk was her favourite. ‘I learned from Nhung that talking behind people’s back is bad. So with Ngoc Han (another mentee), I discussed this subject further and listened to some more feedback. From then I never talk behind anyone’s back again. I went for food with this one friend and we reconciled!’