Hen gap lai

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

10 months have passed within a blink of an eye. My time with Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV) has unfortunately come to an end. There will be no more introductions that are “Michael Dao the volunteer, American born Vietnamese, PhD student from the University of Toronto.”

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With FFAV Staff on Norwegian National Day

It has been an amazing 10 months with FFAV. And much align to the current handover process, my time with FFAV has been filled with excitement, successes and a few challenges scattered in the mix.  But, through all of the emotions that came with my time with FFAV, I can confidently say one thing now that my time is over: “It’s working.” The communities that have FFAV clubs and activities are experiencing something special. From a far, anyone can see the smiles and the enjoyment that is had by all. But even better I was lucky to actually feel the tremendous amount of excitement, pride, and community every time I attended an event.  With that, I want to say that FFAV is definitely having lasting impacts. They may be hard to see and gauge, but to simply know that children are living a life of fun and laughter, is enough to say FFAV is working. And this is something we must continuously remind ourselves of.

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Discover Hue with friends

I came to FFAV with research on my mind. The goal of my time with FFAV was and is still for the most case, to collect data for my PhD thesis. However as time went on I became part of something bigger. I can wholeheartedly say I was accepted into a family, a group of friends that honestly care about each other. FFAV staff trusted me to help with various projects ranging from writing articles for the website, English language edits, and writing applications for funding. Thus, I refer to the quote above by Ralph Waldo Emerson because it concisely and poetically illustrates my feelings of my time in Hue with FFAV. I can only hope that my presence with FFAV has truly helped the people that need it the most. I hope FFAV staff has benefitted from my time with them, and I hope one day I can use my research to benefit the communities implementing FFAV activities. And it is not to know that I succeeded but rather that we succeeded doing in something great.

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Present the evaluation report

To that end, I will not say “goodbye.” My work with FFAV is not complete. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that activities are sustainable and that every child in Vietnam, if they want to, has the opportunity to participate in grassroots football integrated with life skills. As my physical presence with FFAV is over, my mind and spirit will continue to help FFAV from Canada. So, I wont say goodbye to anyone. Because in this life if we truly mean it, then we will all see each other again. I leave all of you with a smile that from the bottom of my heart is filled with so much happiness. For now, “Hen gap lai!”

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We will miss you much, Michael!!!

Michael Dao

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