|Vietnam "Recover the past" 2011 trip
April 2011.In Vietnam just an other hot humid day,but for me the start of an very hectic week, back in "Nam". After the normal 1 day "Shop to you drop" of lousy copies in Bangkok,Thailand I finally arrived in Saigon International Airport.
Few can expect the huge difference it is to arrive in Vietnam, all those people outside the airport, waiting for their relatives, loved ones or simply just looking at the newcomers.
The heat, smell of food and the never ending polutions created by an raising in cars and small motorbikes, the Vietnamese way of an better future.
My friend and brother in Vietnam, Hung was waiting for me, as usally. we were happy to met and went to check in my luggae, in the little guest house, that also were used for meetings, interviews and office during my time in Vietnam.
Based in the best tourist trap in Vietnam "Pham Ngo lau street" and close to the centrum, then I was ready for an other round of helping amerasians.
Armed with an bunch of Amerasian cases and one Vietnam vet case, I headed for the frontline.
Reality hits hard, when it comes !!!! Already the first day amerasians started to drop by my little " One week " office. With their old papers, photos and informations they hoped against hope, that I could make an different. Mostly left disapointed, their informations to little or to unclear to make an case and the only things to are store it for show on homepage.
Few days in my trip all the arrows point down south to the delta. Several request from amerasians living there, made us packing our toothbrush and hit it for the highway.
First stop was My Tho, to visit an old amerasian friend Long, that I had known for more than 15 years. Some hours later, loaded with food, drinks an gasoline for our motorbike we went on the dusty roads to Tra Vinh, deep south in the delta.
For an western gentleman like me, an vietnamese motorbike are hardly an good option when it comes to long journeys, on hard roads full of pot holes and dust.
On the way to Tra Vinh you had to pass an river by boat, and fast an nice trip made by an small ferry.
Tra Vinh, an small but growing town on the Mekong river, downtown the Delta, an forgotten spot where little happend. Populated by an mix of Vietnamese, etnical Cambodians and etnical Chinese, an crossroad for many cultures.
One night an day spend in Tra Vinh, interview the local amerasian population, gather whatever informations about an long gone Gi father, more broken hopes and dreams.
When you go somewhere, you had to return to point zero again, and thats what we did an long trip back to Ho chi Minh city, on an to small Vietnamese motorbike.
Nothing like home, at least when it comes to an decent hotel. An emegency meeting on the way back ,in Ben Tre with more amerasians made our return trip even longer,hotter,dustier and bumpier.
Now started the real challenge !!!! I made an promies to an Vietnam vet James Copeland, that I will find hes amerasian child he left behind in Bien Hoa,after ended service.
With an old photo, informations and an hand drawn map, me and Hung hit the road to the dusty industrial city of Bien Hoa "The gate of Saigon" as it used to be known.
Locating someone or something after 40 years, are like hitting an nail in the haystack, really hard to the border of impossible.
2 days on the frontline in Bien Hoa, interview half of the population, bribing the other half and always kept an eye on the police,since asking to much raising to much attention.>
The reward of the hard work can be seen on "James Copeland case", it was worth all the time,money and energy and we learned a lot of it.
An week pass like it never exist and it was time to say "Goodbye" and "See you again". To draw an conclusion on my latest trip in Vietnam, then it we helped 1 Philipino-Vietnamese in reuniting with her father in Philipines, 1 Vietnam vet in reuniting with hes amer-asian daugther and 1 Amerasians in finding her fathers family (Father dead), not an bad deal for an week-
Today Amerasians are still in Vietnam,spread out from the delta to the DMZ, and to meet them all are impossible task for some like us-
We can only cover as much as we can,with the time and economic means that allowed to us.
But we will be sure that we had to come back again, as long our assistance are needed.