Thursday, January 25, 2007

return to Hoa Binh

Project Vietnam volunteer Pham Van Nam and I recently visited our friend Ha Minh Quan in rural Hoa Binh Province. He's the young man with the deteriorating eyesight, the result of undetected and untreated rheumatoid arthritis. His condition has gotten worse, and his eyesight is now severely limited. The weather in Hoa Binh last week was very cold, in the low fifties and very humid. Quan had no shoes, socks, or gloves to warm his cold and aching extremities. We bought him a few things, of course, but his family's long-term prospects are bleak indeed. Quan's mother never asks for anything, but always gratefully and graciously accepts the small amount of money we periodically provide. She always uses the money carefully, and recently bought a partial share in a water buffalo which lives next to their home! This is not a case of simply throwing cash at a problem, Quan's mother uses the money wisely and never expects a "handout." As we make preparations for our next Medical Mission, we should keep Quan in mind. Anyone visiting the Hanoi area who would like to make the journey to visit Quan, please let me know and we'll make the arrangements! The family (and the local Muong kids) are always happy to see visitors.

The pictures attached here show Nam with Quan; the road leading to Quan's house; the house itself; the new water buffalo; and the local kids who were quite excited to see a foreigner. We taught them how to play "Simon Says!"

Jim Brennan

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