September 30, 2007


Yesterday Maang took me on a two hour tour of the city. He took me to the HCMC History museum, and then to an orphanage for children with birth defects from Agent Orange – that was intense, and trying. I wish I had more time there or that I was there with a few more people. It was hard to go into the rooms alone and meet the nurses and be with the kids. Most can’t leave their beds, so there was lots of “hi!”s and touching and high-fives. I felt uncomfortable taking photos but Maang urged me too, he talked about the importance of meeting these kids – for Americans especially but for everyone – and how the consequences of war go beyond what we think of. His mother died from Agent Orange, he said. So I took one photo. He told me that the orphanage was funded mostly by foreigners, Americans, French, Dutch, Australian, African, people from all over.

Then we drove 35 minutes outside the city to the elephant pagoda. It was too late to go in, but he wanted to show me the outskirts of the city and the highways and what suburban life was like in Vietnam. I felt like I was on a really simplified Route 17, the traffic was ridiculous and on each side were restaurants, mechanic’s garages, warehouses. But also pho stands and fruit and vegetable markets. The streets were full of people in every town we passed, as if nobody ever goes home.

We drove back during rush hour traffic.. that was insane. Totally almost ran into a few buses. And along the river through HCMC back to the port. Saw the most beautiful section of the city – all the really REALLY gorgeous hotels all lit up.

So far this has been the best part of the trip. Right around the one hour mark, I realized that this is one of those really small, really big moments that you’re supposed to hold on to in life.

Ta m bie't,


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness Meliss. Your day was a potent one in your life. I am sitting here crying, feeling what you experienced and blessing you for understanding and feeling for these people. This is real and more than most of any of us have ever seen ever.
I am sending you hugs. I love you.I am with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Melissa,
Your time in Ho Chi Minh City sounds incredible! What an extraordinary experience you are having. Of course that is not surprising for the incredible
young woman that you are.
Love you, Bev
PS:Stay safe.