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Friendship enhancing trip

From 4 to 8 April, the City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs collaborated with the Consulate General of Viet Nam in Savannakhet, the Vietnamese Association in Savannakhet (Lao People's Democratic Republic) to conduct medical examination, give free medicine and gifts for 500 overseas Vietnamese and the poor in Savannakhet province. The total cost of the trip is over 600 million Dong.

 

 

According to the plan, the medical service starts at 8 o'clock. However, just around 7 o'clock, a lot of overseas Vietnamese came. Many overseas Vietnamese who live far away, rented a coach to come this place to get treatment. Mrs. Phan Thi Thiet, 82 years old, said that she was very happy when she heard about the delegation, so she asked her son to take her here for medical examination because they trust Vietnamese doctors, especially doctors in the big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City. Doctor Ho Minh Hoang, one of the doctors of the delegation said: "Although there are so many overseas Vietnamese coming for medical treatment, I do not feel tired because their happiness makes me happy”.

The venue, where the medical examination and medicine distribution are carried out, is the homeland, named after the late President of Lao PDR Kaysone Phomvihane, who, together with Uncle Ho, laid the foundation for the friendship between the two countries.

The consolidation between Viet Nam and Laos, nurtured by the Parties, the States and the peoples of the two countries, has become the special traditional friendship. Geographically, the two countries share the same Mekong River and Truong Son mountains. Historically, Viet Nam and Laos have had to face the invaders of great economic and military potentials. Given natural conditions and historical circumstances, it requires the two countries to unite, to stick together to confront the mighty opponent. “Rivers may dry up and mountains may wear out, but the Vietnamese and Lao peoples’ affection and gratitude will stay forever”, said late President Kaysone Phomvihane.

The activities of medical examination, medicine and gifts distribution by the City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese not only express the compassion and attention of leaders and people of Ho Chi Minh City attached to the overseas Vietnamese and the poor in Savannakhet Province; but also contribute to preserving and promoting the special relationship between Viet Nam and Laos.

 

The united, mutually supportive Vietnamese community in Laos

Returning to Laos after 5 years, the landscape and living style of the people in this country do not seem to change much compared to my memories. Along the way, I still see the simple wooden stilt houses with the whole family, gathering around a bed in front of the house chatting, and the children playing in the yard. To me, Laos is a place where we can quietly see and listen to its simple and peaceful life. It’s also where we can hear a slow prayer of a monk begging for food, or the singing of the fishermen on the Mekong river at sunrise.

Laos is home to peaceful people with composed attitude and gentle talking manner. That makes me believe that the Vietnamese here is probably not as wealthy as those in other countries, but certainly have a good life. I give an example to clarify my statement. After a medical examination, a woman doctor told us that when she was giving the prescription, she asked an overseas Vietnamese if he need something more. He frankly replied: “I do not want anything more; you just do the right job”. I also met a woman who asked to be anonymous, holding a medical form and a gift voucher, but she said that she came here for medical examination only. She refused to receive the gift and asked the organizer to give the gift to the people in need.

Mr. Tran Sai, Vice President of the Vietnamese Association in Savanakhet province, said that Savanakhet is home to about 4,000 Vietnamese. There are 4 schools for overseas Vietnamese, 3 Vietnamese pagodas, 2 churches to organize spiritual activities for overseas Vietnamese.

The Association regularly organizes cultural and artistic activities with an aim to reminding the overseas Vietnamese of their homeland, especially the Tet holidays. Whenever there is an activity, that requires the support of the community, the overseas Vietnamese are very supportive. When we asked if there was any family in need of help, Mr. Sai gave very detailed information on the condition of each family, like who is economically disadvantaged, who is sick, and who is alone.

Mrs. Ly Thi Hanh, 70 years old, an overseas Vietnamese in Seno District, Savanakhet Province, told us that the overseas Vietnamese loves each other very much. If anyone has any difficulties, the Vietnamese Association will mobilize people to donate money to help. Her family also received a landsite, allocated from the Association, to build the house. Having met for a while, she invited our delegation to her family. She said: “When you get to Seno bus station, if you ask where is Mrs. Hanh’s house, anyone can give the answer. The Vietnamese community in Seno has about 200 families, but one knows each other”.

(OVC)

 

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