#10 “Volunteering in Vietnam”

Be The Change – Episode #10

Three volunteers tell their own personal stories about what compelled them to serve in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pam, a long-time Vietnam team leader, is drawn to a particular service project more than others – helping young blind adults learn English to improve their limited future career opportunities.  Her motivation is close to her heart – and her story will make you reflect on the pivotal role we can each play in others’ lives.

Julie was most impressed by how the Vietnamese she worked with, living in poverty, welcomed her with joy and acceptance. She says: “I never expected the graciousness and the warmth” emanating toward team members from the local people. She came to realize that in their richness of spirit, that “they had everything and I had nothing.”

Joe reads the journal of his service program roommate, John, a Vietnam veteran who returned to Vietnam for the first time since he left in 1970 during the war.  “I needed to see it first-hand,” says John. “I came back to do something, however small, to help rebuild a developing country I helped to destroy; to show the Vietnamese that there are Americans who care about them; that there are veterans…who care.” He continues:  “I’m going home knowing that the war in Vietnam, and the war in me, is finally over.”

Episode storytellers: Pam, Julie, and Joe