The Vietnam Friendship Village - Van Canh

Trip Start Mar 03, 2008
Trip End Apr 01, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, March 16, 2008

The major purpose for my travel was to attend the meeting of the International Committee of the Vietnam Friendship Village aka. Village de l'Amitiť and celebrate ten years of operation of the Village. I have traveled to the Village many times since 1996 but haven't been there since 2004. Since my last visit much construction has taken place funded by donations from individuals and committees throughout the world as well as the Association of Vietnamese Veterans.

Each 2 years the International Committee consisting of representatives for the country committees of Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. meet with the Association of Vietnamese Veterans (VAVN) to examine the progress made over the past 2 years and agree on the plan and budget for the next 2 years. This process normally takes 3 or 4 days, but because of the 10 year celebration the meeting and celebration were combined making the visit a time of intense activity.
The first thing I noticed as we neared the Village was the new entry gate. It looked more like the Arc De Triomphe than the entry to a healing facility for children. Perhaps it was the colonial influence. As we walked the grounds we were impressed by the major expansion since 2004. The most prominent are the new administration building, the primary school funded by the Vietnam Children's Fund and the well outfitted hospital.

The opening ceremonybegan with a bit of formality followed by paying our respects to the late George Mizo one of the founders as well as Jeff Paco Huch one of the first presidents of the U. S. Committee.

The meetings were the culmination of months of informal work mostly by email creating draft reports and budgets in Vietnamese, English, French, German and Japanese.
The final work involved clarifying and negotiating the final language. In solidarity we celebrate our work and the final agreement.
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Bobby Dias on

Author is a liar. In 1967 Ho Chi Minh took me to what was beginning to be the Friendship Village. Did not look like a rice paddy. Looked like a mess. It was a start. Ho Chi Minh introduced me to three people there- two women and a man who were starting Friendship Village.
I was in the United States Navy on a ship called the USS Paul Revere. Then United States President Johnson asked me to travel in Southeast Asia to meet people. Nothing to try for except meet people. I was such good friends with many people like Ho Chi Minh and Thieu and Tho and others in the region that I did not think much of my negotiating the peace in Vietnam until lately. I had been bringing peace to many parts of the world since the age of 10 years. Vietnam was different- very friendly people.

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