It’s hard to say what led a person to abandon a baby in a plastic bag, tied to a tree at a coffee plantation in Vietnam. The tiny, helpless infant had been exposed to the sun and mosquitoes for several days, Channel News Asia reported.
Not only was she covered in mosquito bites, but even more horrifyingly, she had a festering wound on the back of her head that was swarming with maggots. There were maggots squirming in her bellybutton, mouth, and nose.
The baby girl was in awful shape.
She was found in the poverty-stricken province of Lam Dong in Vietnam’s central highlands last March.
Doctors examined the abandoned baby girl and feared that she would not survive. They believed that should she live, it wouldn’t be for more than a year.
Besides this, she was diagnosed with an even more complicated condition called hydranencephaly, a disorder that affects the central nervous system causing excessive amounts of liquid to accumulate inside the skull, causing it to expand greatly. The condition can also lead to seizures, paralysis, and blindness.
Thankfully, there was a Buddhist convent near where she was found that took her in. Buddhist abbess Minh Tai of the Hue Quang monastery agreed to care for the infant.
Over the years, Minh Tai had cared for over 100 children. At the time, there were 10 children under her and the nuns’ care.
They named the poor infant Trieu Hoai An, which means “perpetual peace” in Vietnamese.
Using Facebook (did you know Buddhist abbesses used Facebook?) and reaching out to other temples in Vietnam, Minh Tai was able to raise $25,000 in order to pay for baby Hoai An’s medical expenses.
She was brought to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on April 10 to undergo treatment.
Baby Hoai An suffered from dangerous amounts of fluid in her brain and fought for her life, while doctors did everything they could to treat her condition.
Although Dr. Tang Kok Kee, a neurosurgeon, said, “[t]here is a chance her condition will improve,” sadly, it didn’t turn out to be so. Despite some improvements in her health, baby Hoai An passed away at 4 a.m. last Friday, June 12. After she returned to the monastery, she stopped breathing in her sleep.
Minh Tai offered a memorable farewell on Facebook:
The winds of impermanence have shaken the last succulent leaf off the branches of life, with no time for a new plantlet to sprout,” said Venerable Minh Tai, who is known for her charitable efforts.
May you soon be reborn into a better world.