Monday, April 23, 2012

April 18: 
We left Meo Vac at 7am for Quang Ba, about 3 hour ride south for PLAN's meeting with the town leaders. I am grateful for the car ride. My Maximus Gluteus (quite max by now with great Vietnamese foods) still feel the hours of many motorbike rides the last few days on rocky roads. 

Up and down the beautiful mountains, I got to see the town Meo Vac rest peacefully in the valley surrounded by mountains. 

Our fearless chief excitedly told us about a Pho restaurant half way down where we would stop for breakfast. And he is right, the Pho was excellent. In the kitchen, several large pots were bubbling over wood stoves.

When the meeting was over, I asked if anyone would help me find Mrs. Mai who has started a flax weaving business to help the young ladies who were taken to China by human traffickers.

"Oh, we invited Mrs. Mai to come to this meeting, too, but she is in Hanoi for the Vietnamese Minority Festival. There are other women who were in the same situation also live in the three villages we mentioned in this meeting that we hope to help."

Wow!!!! I am speechless, and utterly grateful!!! They didn't know I was looking for her, and when they mentioned Mrs. Mai's name during the meeting, I thought they were talking about the other Mai who was PLAN's consultant and staying in the same hotel with me this week. 

Who would have thought I am this close to find the ladies....This is so beyond my imagination!

On the way home, I was promised to have Mrs. Mai's contact info in Hanoi.... So, I asked if I could go back to Hanoi on the next car coming down the mountains. "Two days from today...." I was told.

With a free couple of hours before dinner, I walked around Meo Vac and took some photos of the town.  

Later that night, we all had a fun dinner party, ended with karaoke where I sang a song by my favorite poet, Trinh Cong Son. This was the first time in more than 30 years I could sing by myself a whole Vietnamese song.

The PLAN staff is some of the most talented, dedicated and intelligent young Vietnamese I have ever met. They have graduated from colleges for a few years, and now work as humanitarian workers so far away from family and friends. Besides the breathtakingly beautiful landscape here, there is hardly much for young people to be entertained. They travel, sometimes on foot, for many hours, even to the furthest village unreachable by motorbikes or car, to deliver needed materials or seminars on public health, etc. They've helped made my time here so memorable.  I am humbled by the dedication, gentle spirit and the kindness of the whole staff, from Mr. Thang, the director, to everyone else.

Tomorrow I will take a ride with dear Mr. Tuan to visit the villages and homes further out among the mountains.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your example of love for others. Aunt A