I actually need some help,
Let me explain,
In the year 2000 Eurasia Association, (we created the Foundation later, if you want to know more, please look at our website www.eurasia.org.vn
…by the way Khanh and me updated it a bit)…so in the year 2000 started a longterm collaboration between Tinh Duc Pagoda and Eurasia in Hue.
Or should we say a LOVESTORY
At this time a friend and
association member, Sara Martine stayed 6 months in Hue in order to help Thuy Bieu school, one of the two first special schools created by Eurasia in Hue, in their first months of existence.
She helped with creating individual files for
each child, individual projects, and oversaw the first steps of « Beloved School » in Thuy Bieu, in the outskirts of Hue.
At this time special education, specially education of children living with mental disabilities
was totally unknown in Vietnam and we, Eurasia, with our local and international partners were truly pioneers in this field.
So Sara lived 6 months here in Hue…Hue is a lovely quiet city with lot’s of trees, mountains that
you can see from afar, and of course lovely Perfume River flowing elegantly and giving its soft pace to it all.
So this means Sarta had a nice time to stroll around…one day she met Monsieur Nhiem at Morin Hotel. Morin Hotel is a
french colonial style old hotel right in the centre of Hue. Now it is nicely renovated, allmost modern, but at that time it still was quite run down with its lovely charm of the past….
Monsieur Nhiem worked in Morin hotel as a ceremonial
master. He organized and guided « imperial dinners » for the few tourists at this time.
I always wondered how the tourists could bear such a theatrical set up and put on these old « smelly »
clothes and look so strange sitting on fake thrones…well…that’s not really what I want to talk about ?
Monsieur Nhiem heard Sara Martine speak about humanitarian projects of Eurasia in Hue, he came up to her and
said he knew of a place that really needed help,
Tinh Duc pagoda is a temple welcoming poor old ladies who lost their families during the war and who when getting old and had no home, no husband, no children to look after them.
They received no help what soever. The only support came from the close buddhist community in the village. But at that time Vietnam was still very poor and the whole place was really rustic.
Next day Sara went to visit. She sent us
a fax…yes it was still fax time…saying we HAVE TO HELP !
So Eurasia sent 14.000$ (at that time a lot of money) to build some dormitories and sanitaries to make life easier and more comfortable for these old ladies.
Ever since we have constructed and re constructed allmost all buildings there. In 2011 one of the still old buildings from war time collapsed and we rebuilt it entirely…do you remember… ?
2005 I asked one of the Eurasia staff My Nhien to stay some time with the old ladies and to collect their life stories.
My Nhien collected about 30 stories. My Nhien is vietnamese from Saigon. For the interviews she also needed translation
as some of the old ladies spoke such strong dialects. She then translated all these stories into french… I need to translate them into english…
I have a tresor of gold with these texts…30 stories of women often from
the lowest social ladder that lived through french colonisation, and the long complicated american war, lifestories of « unknown » heroes…
Their stories are very simple, but deep of truth, thruth of what
life really is about !
Usually we hear history through the stories of heros, the « VIP’s »…here it is history through the stories of the « least » important…women, all
very poor who had very little all their life and even lost the little they had when getting old.
I have tried a few times to work on these texts but feel a bit helpless..
Mister Cuu a wonderful photographer of Hue
made potrays of these ladies in 2005. They are wonderful ! Luckily he did this in time as most of these « first » ladies now past away in these last few years…
So I wonder…should I try to tell some
of these little life stories on my blog and get your advise on how to present them in the best way… ? I need to find out how to tell their stories,
I am a bit possesive with theses texts.
Firstly because I know they
are a treasure. Some friends already wanted to re-work them, but I feel these women should not be exploited one more time or abused again, so I need to protect their stories (I did not mean my friends wanted to exploit or abuse them, but I felt they did not
know enough of the context, the history , the place…these friends are REALLY LOVELY and nice)
I hesitate since so long because I really want to do something REALLY good to give these ladies a « light » and
dignity they may be had so little in their life time,
I might start with one or two stories on my blog and may be I’ll get « inspired » or some of my readers get inspired…let’s see if I manage this