When I met you at Ronald McDonald House, your smile was infectious and your enthusiasm for life was obvious. You were so strong and brave and faced your operation day with acceptance. I knew immediately that I would make every effort to visit your school and to bring a food experience for you and your class mates to enjoy. I hoped that my visit would bring happiness and joy…………………never did I imagine that it was my soul that would be truly nourished by the experience.
As soon as I arrived at your home I felt at peace. Hundreds of kilometres away from my own home city – and so far away from the hustle and bustle of a township. Your home is like a paradise, of animals, of fields, of ‘farm activities’ and of love.
Every adventure with you was a momentous moment for such a city person like me. It was such a pleasure to join you for mustering the cattle, for feeding your animals, and for spending a day at your school – with less children in total than in a city school’s single classroom.
I was surrounded all day with all the children you study and play with. And I noticed how everyone was so kind and giving. I loved the laughter and the joy, I loved watching you all create food you’d never even heard of, and to be so excited in your success. I took pleasure in seeing an entire school hanging in the branches of your school tree, and highlighting with pride the school’s garden, designed and planted by you all.
The experience of cooking in your school classroom, wrapped by surrounding fields, with sun streaming through the windows – will forever stay with me. A little of Vietnam came to Putere Primary, but a whole lot of Putere Primary came home with me to Auckland.
Please, give your Dad a huge hug and thank you from me. To hunt for a deer, is not something I ever imagined I would do in my life time.
The experience of truly understanding where the meat, I so often purchase, comes from was fantastic. Your family’s hospitality and generosity was overwhelming. I loved staying in such a warm and welcoming home – and I know that my puppy loved all the attention and freedom the farm and you children gave her too.
I believe we will always be in touch. I will never forget the day we danced together at Ronald McDonald House, nor the amazing adventure I have just experienced in visiting you. I look forward to many more adventures together in the future.
With much love
Vanessa (your real MasterChef!!!!!!!!)
PS. Thank your big sister, Lily for the delicious Apple Pie 🙂