The 6-month-old Nguyen Trieu Hai Bang – abandoned by her own mother due to her natural-born deformed face, was very lucky to be taken into the shelter of a Buddhism priest. To be able to survive is already a miracle not to mention a future where Hai Bang can go to school and having friends like a normal person.
Nun Nguyen is the one who took care of Hai Bang since she was just 2 months and 4 days old. At that time, she was severely malnourished, weighing merely 2.15 kg. Nun Nguyen told us that during the first week, the baby was hardly able to eat even a little milk. Everyone who saw Hai Bang at this moment said that she would not be able to survive. Yet, with the effort, patience, and boundless love, Nun Nguyen days to days took care of Hai Bang and the baby was getting better little by little.
One day, the crew from FPT arrived bringing great news for the poor kid: Operation Smile had come to Ho Chi Minh City for the surgical mission. With great assistance from the FPT team, Nun Nguyen and Hai Bang were able to reach Operation Smile‘s screening day.
Surrounded by the arms of Operation Smile’s volunteers, Hai Bang’s incomplete smile touched everyone’s hearts. When our doctor said that Hai Bang could receive surgery the following day, everybody was filled with happiness and joy as they know after this surgery, her life would change forever. And most importantly, Hai Bang would smile brighter than ever after the surgery.
The morning after surgery, when nurses cleaned and changed the surgical bandage, we once again met Hai Bang before she discharged from the hospital. Although the wound still hurt a lot, Hai Bang did not cry, she just lied in the hospital bed and looked at us with her lovely bright eyes.
Before saying goodbye, Nun Nguyen confidently told us about the positive plan for Hai Bang in the future. From now on Hai Bang would no longer need to hide behind the pagoda’s doors. Instead, with her smile, she can live like a normal person: having friends and attending school. If she has a good affinity with Buddhism, Nun Nguyen can help her to become a priest. But if Hai Bang wishes to go to college, Nun Nguyen will also do her best to support Hai Bang. Education is not just a dream; it is surely reachable.