Monday, April 16, 2012

The journey began with a NY Times article...

" Over a decade ago, human traffickers descended on this seemingly forgotten slice of soaring limestone crags and lush valleys to snatch up women and children and sell them over the border in China, less than four miles away...

....the Vietnamese authorities collaborated with Chinese officials to find the women and, remarkably, bring them home.

But residents’ elation lurched to horror at the realization that two of the women were pregnant. News quickly spread that the others, too, had been made sex workers, and even those who did not bear the signs of the trade paid its price.

Fearful that a fallen woman would cast shame on the whole family, several households quickly disowned their kidnapped daughters. Some of the girls built makeshift tents, blue specks that can still be seen tucked high into the mountainside, a wide distance from town.

They were outcasts, without food, income or hope.

That is when Vang Thi Mai, a short woman with work-worn hands and a round, beaming face, took them in, and changed their lives and the fortunes of the entire village...."

August 2012, in my light-filled loft in Providence, RI, USA, I read this article and felt my heart tugged toward the blue specks on the green hills where the young women called home. I felt I should just go there even though I didn't know exactly where they were, how to get to them, or how I could be of help for them, and Mrs. Mai.

I wrote several groups and people that were mentioned in the article, but got no answer. With much prayer, and lots of encouragement from my family and close friends, at the end of March 2012, without a clue how to reach the village, except this love, and peace, in my heart, I made the decision to travel to Vietnam.

So my journey began....