Thursday, June 2, 2016


The month of May has been a very busy but meaningful month for many of us at Tea Talk CoRE.  However, the busier we are, the call to slow down and reflect become all the more important. Otherwise we become a rat running on the spinning wheel but going nowhere.
 
In May, Trang (CoRE's director) was in Singapore through a scholarship from the National University of Singapore to participate in a South East Asia Young Social Work Leaders Conference in Singapore.  Tea Talk CoRE is very proud of her.  Many of my professors and social work colleagues send me messages on how impressed they were with Trang's presentation and the professionalism and passion she brought along with her.  Along with her was Tra My, a Tea Talker that has graduated from Let's Talk and is now a social worker at Hagar International.  Both Trang and Tra My did us proud.

Ms. Trang, receiving her certificate of attendance.
CoRE, though young and few in manpower, has again pull off a successful fundraising gala dinner.  Our success is very much due to all the support and help that we received from our faithful advocates, advisory council members, Tea Talkers, Let's Talkers and friends from around the world.  Our accounting staff is still consolidating the final amount raised.  The delay is due to the fact that some had pledged to donate but has yet to transfer the fund.  As for today, near to US$21 000 (gross) has been raise. Well done ALL.  Well done CoRE!

Mr. Lawrence Peh, member of Tea Talk Advisory Council and CEO of ParkCity Hanoi sponsored a table for the gala dinner.
All our Tea Talkers that helped made the gala dinner a success.
Ms. Van, a faithful Tea Talker volunteering as the MC for the evening.
May also saw the arrive of 19 students from School of the Arts (Singapore) coming for their Oversea Community Involvement Program (OCIP).  SOTA, together with Tea Talk CoRE organized fun cultural activities, baking classes and workshops spreading LOVE to those around us.  In return, each of them and those of us at Tea Talk CoRE received more than we gave. Freely received, freely give.  As SOTA and Tea Talk CoRE journeyed together for 11 days, wonderful memories were made, friendships extended, fear and insecurities evaporated, forgiveness offered, appreciation and admiration credited.  Yes, Luong celebrate with this quote, "We succeeded, not because we see each of you shared in tears the valuable lessons the service learning experience has brought.  We at Tea Talk CoRE succeeded because we tear along with you all."  Moving forward, all such service learning trip will be renamed as Let"s C.A.R.E. C for Collaboration; A for Appreciation, R for Risk-Taking and E for Empowering Communities.

SOTA students getting ready and oriented for their 11 days OCIP at Tea Talk CoRE Community.
Let's Bake: A community involvement program.
SOTA students organizing a community event with children from the local community.
But, May is not without its challenges.  The demolition of the neighboring building has severely affected our operation and business.  We came in on one Monday morning and saw the thick layer of dust covering every inch of the cafe.  Then came the deafening noise and thundering shock waves that each pounding of the demolition machine struck to breakdown each brick.  In my heart, I grumbled and wished that the neighboring construction will take more deliberate action to reduce the noise and dust. My desperate attempts to negotiate the situation pales in what God did.  God, who watches our every step has a great sense of humor.  He sent such a big rain and flooded many parts of Hanoi.  The heavy rain certainly did the job of keeping the dust at bay.

Demolition work on the house next door
Dust covered over Tea Talk
One of the most sever flood since 2008
Looking ahead, June will be a time to consolidate.  At Tea Talk cafe, our cook Trang and our manager Ha will be due for maternal leave soon.  We are training a new cook now and is looking for someone to help with the accounts.  Credits to Ha for spending the past one year establishing the tedious but needed work of establishing a strong team of cafe staff.  Linh has joined us 3 months ago to assist with marketing along with many other service related task.  Tiem is a new staff making all the drinks.  She will need training to improve her drinks making skills.  Xuan our baker is recently married.  Congratulations. 

CoRE Community, the charity arm of Tea Talk, will continue to host workshops, lectures and talks.  On June 11, Let's Talk will have it official graduation ceremony for its 6th intake. Ms; Lee Song Lee, a senior medical social worker will be conducting a sharing session on 21st June about Medical Social Work In Singapore.  At the same time, CoRE will be hosting the Community Public Health Training team again from 20th to 24th June.  The community health project will be renamed to Let's GO.  G = Grow; O = Outwards.   As we grow individually as a person, both in professional skills and our personal hope, Tea Talk CoRE aspires to grow outwards and bless other communities.  Thus the partnership between REI and CoRE through the Community Public Health Team lead by Dr. Hipp is helping is set the ground and foundation for what I envision will take root in 3 to 5 years time.

Not to say the least, is our Tea Talk Tour and Tea Talk English.  Our youngest siblings in our family. Youngest they may be but over the past 6 months, both the tour and English services have brought new revenue streams for our bottom-line. Our youngest siblings, like the picture depicted below has help carried Tea Talk CoRE through challenging times. When we have a hole to jump over, each of you came in to bridge the gap.

Thanks to Yen who is the OWO for Tea Talk Tour.  OWO - One Woman Operations.  Also the the Mcfaddens for leading Tea Talk English.  Any guess for OMO?   No, it no One-Man-Operations.  Its One-McFadden-Operations.  This is because when Presley works, the whole family sacrifices.
Let's Bike - Tea Talk Tour's unique street food tour by bike.
Let's Share - Tea Talk Fun Club.