Monday, March 07, 2005

Vietnam Day 1 Thoughts (Monday 03/07)

Flight was good and we reached here dafely. We are not too badly jet lagged, but our body clocks are still a little messed up. I will be posting thoughts from our journal entry by Melanie Hill and myself here.

Our Day 1 thoughts"

Quote from today: "I have learned two lessons in my life: First, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings."
-Elie Wiesel-

Melanie says...
Today was a mix of, laughter, sadness, fearfulness, empowerment, humbleness, and the list goes on. We met
with the Vice President of the Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA). He was a gentle man, soft spoken, but pasionate about his life and his cause. I found his talk inspiring, yet frustrating. The U.S. chemical companies has
given compensation to Vietnam Veterans with Agent Orange disabilities, although not verbally admitting the harmful affects this defoliant has on life. However, no recognition or compensation has been given to the Vietnamese Government on the same issue. In fact our government denies the use of chemical warfare and any farmful affects Agent Orange has on human life! THis makes me want to yell, scream, anthing to outlet my frustration...may anger. I have hope though, hope that we can make a difference, that we can change lives!! I truly believe that people will care. Thanh asked last night if people would care if they knew the truth. My answer to her is...some will and some won't. My hope is that most will! What do we do after we leave here? What can we do to make a chage...make a difference? We go back and educate. Ignorance is anger, hate, and
revenge, but knwledge is love, healing, and future. I honestly believe that even if we can change one person's views, educate one person, that that will make a difference. We MUST spread the word, spread the knowledge we have gained. We are now members of the world, and we now have a duty, an obligation to participate in this cause more than ever! So I ask you as members of my team, as my friends, as members of the world, and as members of the human species to go back and make a change!
-Melanie Hill-

Its getting late - we have to leave for the Friendship village. We will post the iternary for the whole day (i.e. what we did on day 1) soon!!!


At 3/08/2005 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Good Morning Viet Nam [Team] !"
I was so pleased to read your first entry. You have all been in my thoughts over the past few days... It's good to know that you arrived safely and that you are about the work of your mission. Your quote from Elie Wiesel is a powerful one, and it is obviously one that mirrors your feelings and experiences.
Please know that many of us back home share your frustration, sadness, and outrage; the United States could be so much better, could have so much more integrity. We at home are anxious to learn from you - to find out that which you have learned firsthand.
Be safe... enjoy each other... eat wonderful food... let your hearts hurt, but remember hope.

Sally Leber


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