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Kickoff For Change

Kickoff For Change

This is the 4th time I visited Vietnam and each of the other 3 times I have been here, it has been a great bonding experience with my family. As I look out the window, I still see the same streets that I saw from my last 3 visits and the same people working hard to make a living from day to day. But before now, I never really lent a hand to help those who could not support themselves beyond the usual monetary gifts.  That is why I feel that this 4th journey is one route that I have not taken before. On this trip, I cannot depend on my parents to help me translate, to help me pay for food, or even to help me understand more of the Vietnamese culture. It’s all up to me now to discover how to function in this old, and yet new society. It’s all up to me to find a way to help my people using my own two hands.

There are many great personal experiences to be developed here, many new relationships to be made and it could not have been possible for me to be here if not for VIET2010. VIET2010 is a program that is promoting Vietnamese-American involvement in bringing awareness and solutions to health and environmental factors that are affecting Vietnam and its people today, with a focus on Agent Orange/Dioxin. I am here to discover how the system for the disabled and possible Agent Orange/Dioxin victims work and its current conditions, and hopefully be able to collaborate with new ideas to further enhance the programs already in place.

VIET2010 is an amazing opportunity for Vietnamese-Americans like me, who wish to learn more about the Vietnamese culture and create a stronger bond between the Vietnamese people in Vietnam and Vietnamese overseas. The program has given me a new pair of lenses to see Vietnam through. Viet2010 has also given me a great group of people to support me along this journey. Our mentors will grow to become new parents and the other 6 summer fellows, as well as the 4 long term fellows, are starting to become my bigger brothers and sisters. They have much to teach me and I’m ready to learn.

I will be traveling with this new group of friends for the next 5 weeks and we will see many things together; we’ll travel to new places and try to new kinds of food. We will disagree with each other, support each other and grow. In the end, I hope that we would be able to come back as a tight-knit family and spread the word of everything that we have learned and seen here. It is a lot of pressure on all of us, as we are the VIET2010 first investments, but I am sure that we will each find a voice and a message to pass on about our experiences. I want to look back out the window again when I leave Vietnam and see a whole new world of possibilities for the people here. I want this to be an amazing and difficult journey that will hopefully inspire others to reach out, find their own adventures, and lend a hand to those in need of it most.


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