Since I submitted this project, many things have happened. First of all, the Vietnam Children's Fund asked us to switch locations for the school. A private donor had become available for the Lam Dong location so they asked if we would reallocate our funds for a school in Chau Doc in Southern Vietnam. It is also an extremely poor area with great need for a school. Of course we said yes. With all of our funds raised to build the school and buy backpacks for all the students, we set off to fill the backpacks with supplies and goodies. We had five enormously successful school supply drives! We had enough to fill all 500 backpacks and then some. We solicited local grocery stores for donations of candy and treats. I was asked to speak to many different groups, -- churches, schools, and service organizations. It was wonderful to tell the story of Kids Building Hope and maybe inspire someone to step up and "do something" to make a change in the world. Then the day finally arrived. We set off on our journey to Vietnam for the school dedication. It was a LONG trip but I knew it was going to be the experience of a lifetime. We traveled to various parts of Vietnam and learned so much about the country, the people and the culture. The people were so warm and welcoming to us. We saw extremely poor living conditions and a hard way of life for so many. We traveled to Chau Doc in Southern Vietnam and onto Hoa Loc, the small village where the school is located. The last 7 miles on a narrow dirt road took us 2 hours. Then we finally reached the school! It was so rewarding to finally see it. The entrance way was lined with cheering kids...clapping, drumming, waving flags and singing. I teared up seeing all these kids so happy, and knowing I played a part in making that happen. There was a beautiful ceremony of dedicating the school, where children sang, and representatives from the school spoke. We were honored to cut the ribbon on the school! After the dedication, the students lined up and we handed out backpacks, school supplies, and noodles. (With some extra money raised right before we left for Vietnam, we purchased 130 cases of noodles for the schoolchildren and their families.) I witnessed sincere appreciation and great excitement when the kids received their filled backpacks. It was humbling to see each child bow to us and thank us as they took their gifts. We then visited the children in some of the classrooms and played some games with the kids. My brother and cousin taught some of the boys to play 4-square. It was one of the most awesome days of my life! The day went by so quickly and we had to leave. As we pulled out, the kids formed a line waving good-bye to us. I felt sad to leave, but filled with hope...which I guess is pretty fitting.