Flying over to Vietnam to volunteer his time didn’t come easily for Kangin as he wondered if the meaning of volunteering would fade away with his presence or if his sincerity would be distorted in the process.
However once he was told that he would be spending time with children, he pushed all thoughts away and got on a plane to Vietnam.
One favor he had was to have the title, ‘volunteer’ be erased, since he was going to Vietnam to play and have fun with children.
During the three days he was in Tuyen Quang, Vietnam, Kangin acted as a teacher of the arts and physical education – two things the children don’t get much of in that specific area.
He brought soccer balls and Super Junior albums as gifts, while creating balloon animals for children – something he worked hard to learn before his trip.
He participated in a series of games and gained energy from seeing the smiles on their faces and realizing that even though the children didn’t have much, they were still happy.
"Although we can’t communicate verbally and the environments that we grew up in were different, I don’t want to be seen as a stranger to the kids. I came here, making up my mind that I will act friendly and comfortable,” said Kangin. “But the kids were so beautiful and pure that I didn’t have to worry at all. I really like children. When we drive by and I see children, sometimes I get out and play with them.”
When all three days were done and it was time for Kangin to return to Korea, he felt a bit of emptiness.
“There’s a bit of disappointment after coming down from a 4-minute performance. It’s the same with this encounter. I wanted to express my whole heart, but I hesitated because it could be burdensome,” said Kangin.
“But I don’t want to be left in their memories as some foreign guy that came and went. Even though they can’t remember my face, if they can remember that this man loved them, wouldn’t these kids also grow up to love others?”
Kangin parted ways with a few of the children he’s gotten especially close with over bottles of Coca Cola and last-minute toys as gifts. They said good-byes as if they would see each other the very next day.
“Honestly, I have a lot of tears, so I was worried even before I came. But those children and I both said good-bye with smiles, so I’m glad and it feels more affectionate.”
More on Kangin′s journey in Vietnam and encounters with these children will be included in March’s 10th anniversary issue.
enewsworld, Instyle Korea