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A trip of friendship to our friend country Laos

 

Each time we came to Laos, we had different feelings. The trip back to Paksé on August 24, 2017, of the delegation of social work of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) was also incredibly warm.

            From August 23 to August 26, 2017, led by Madam Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, the Vice Chairwoman of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese of HCMC, the mission consisted of three officials, representatives of donors and nearly 30 doctors and pharmacists and volunteers from hospitals in HCMC visited Laos. In addition to the budget, this trip was sponsored by Hi Bo tr Tr em (Child Protection Association) of HCMC, Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPP), NutiFood Nutrition Food Joint Stock Company. Previously, in April 2017, the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese also had a visit of social work in Attapeu province, southeast of Laos, more than 240km away from Paksé.

              The journey along the Mekong River

           Every Vietnamese in general and every resident of HCMC in particular always reserved for The Land of a Million Elephants a particular sentiment. Therefore, the annual work program of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese of HCMC still has at least one trip to visit overseas Vietnamese who live and work in the remote provinces of our friend country Laos.

           On the early morning of August 23, 2017, our delegation departed at the office of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese of HCMC and followed National Highway 13 to Hoa Lu border gate in Binh Phuoc province to do the exit formalities. We entered the Kingdom of Cambodia via Treapeng Sre border gate then continue the journey to Kratie, Northeast of Cambodia and had lunch at Oudom Sambath restaurant of a Vietnamese next to the Mekong River. In the afternoon, the delegation moved to the town of Stung Treng, through Domcrolo, Cambodias border gate and Vuenkham, Laos, to Champasak province, where Khon Phapheng waterfall, a natural heritage on the Mekong, situates to Paksé. Champasak welcomed us with a pretty heavy rain on our first day. The guide told us that according to Laotian people, this was a blessing and over a month this place had not had rain.

                Once again

 On the morning of July 24, 2017, at the conference hall of Paksé district, many Vietnamese and Laotian people were presented very early to welcome the Vietnamese delegation. The organization was well prepared. Without any explicit assignments, each of us quickly did our job. 60 boxes of Nutifood milk formula and medicine, medical equipment for the mission was carried into the hall. The Vietnamese Consulate General in Paksé as well as the districts leaders and the local health department, and many staff from our friend country helped us in registering patients and keeping people in order.

 

Madam Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, the Vice Chairman of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese of HCMC, gave gifts to Vietnamese Laotian.

 

Present on the opening day were Mr. On-Ko Pht-Phu-min, the Vice Chairman of Paksé District, Mr. Pham Duy Hoa, the Vice President of Vietnamese Association in Paksé, Doctor Phu Khau Huong Pa Nha, the head of Health Department of Paksé, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Thao, the representative of the Vietnamese Consulate General in Paksé, and Madam Luong Thi Thuan, the President of the Child Welfare Association of HCMC.

On the opening day, Madam Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, the Vice Chairman of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese of HCMC, spoke that she hoped the local leaders would always create good living conditions for overseas Vietnamese to make a living and to contribute more to the locality. Mr. On-Ko Pht-Phu-min, the Vice Chairman of Paksé district, thanked and highly appreciated the mission of the delegation. The trip was meaningful to Vietnamese Laotians in Paksé and strengthen the friendship between the two countries, Vietnam and Laos.

I'm Vietnamese, so how can I not speak Vietnamese?

500 gifts of cash and medicine, worth about 1 million VND each, was given to each person here. However, what touched us most was the concern of the people for the voluntary doctors from Vietnam. Beside spiritual gifts, people were very much looking forward to having medical examinations by doctors from HCMC, Vietnam.

Here we met Mrs. Nguyen Thi Quy, who was, at that time, 95 years old and originated from Bong Hai, Yen Khanh, Ninh Binh, Vietnam. Mrs. Nguyen had lived in Paksé for 75 years. Despite her advanced age, Mrs. Nguyen still had a sound mind and remembered that she had a total of 25 grandchildren and 78 great-grandchildren. Her family was living in Tai Yen, Paksé. She cheerfully told that because of her husbands poverty, so, at the age of 20, they and their brothers and sisters went to Paksé and settled down here.

 Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dau, 80, who was living in Tan Phuoc, Paksé, and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, 42, whose family originated from Hanoi, Vietnam but were born in Laos. They said that in Paksé were many Vietnamese people who came from many regions in Vietnam. They lived and worked mostly in Tai Yen, Tan Phuoc or Tan An hamlets. They lived in harmony with the natives. Though many generations were born in Paksé, Vietnam-originated families spoke Vietnamese and taught  Vietnamese to their children very carefully. Mr. Phan Van Toan, 79, who was originated from Dong Hoi, Quang Binh, Vietnam, but was born in Paksé, was brought to take the eye examination by his niece Phan Thi Ty, 20. Mr. Phan happily said: "I am Vietnamese, how can I not speak Vietnamese?

Visiting the Vietnamese Consulate General in Paksé

After the successful program of medical examination, medicine and gift giving to about 700 Vietnamese Laotians at the hall of Paksé district, in the afternoon of that day, our delegation came to visit the Consulate General of Vietnam in Paksé. Mr. Dao Van Hieu and his staff working at the Consulate General welcomed the delegation. In the friendly atmosphere of the meeting, on behalf of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, the head of mission Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh thanked the Consulate General of Vietnam in Paksé for their enthusiastic support to the delegation in many stages of organization for months. Mr. Dao Van Hieu highly appreciated the mission of the delegation.

Saying goodbye to Paksé and ending our successful trip of social work, our team traveled along the Mekong River more than 600km to return to HCMC.

(OVC)

 

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