Sunday, January 31, 2010

Preview of Trip: Winter 2010

I worked as a team physician with the American Friends Service Committee in Quang Ngai, Vietnam from 1967-1969. We had two main projects during the time I was there: a rehabilitation program in the Province Hospital for war-injured civilians; and a day-care center for refugee children. The rehabilitation program included occupational therapists, physical therapists, and prosthetists. Most of our patients were amputees. We trained local people as prosthetists and physical therapy aides.
Two years ago I returned to Quang Ngai with a delegation from Madison Quakers Inc. a separate organization which has been working in the Tinh Khe area of Son Tinh district of Quang Ngai province. Those who remember Vietnam era history will recognize the name My Lai. My Lai is a hamlet of Tinh Khe town. Madison Quakers Inc. has built a peace park near the memorial site of the My Lai massacre, built homes for poor families with handicapped children, and schools. I went to visit their work, which I have supported; and to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the third building of Tinh Khe Primary School No. 1. Madison Quakers Inc. had already built two classroom buildings for this school and now this third building would house administration, teachers' meeting room, and a library.
Last year, I returned with another member of my local Friends Meeting, Patricia Dewees, to volunteer as teacher-aides for the English teacher in Tinh Khe Primary School. We emphasized that this was a 'pilot project' to see if such teacher-aides would be helpful to their educational program. While there, we also attended the dedication ceremony of the third building - now completed and in use.
This year, in February I am returning to Tinh Khe for the third time. I will be accompanied by Margaret Roberts, who also worked with the AFSC team during part of the time I was there. We are novices at this business of 'blogging' but hope, with some help from our friends, to give you a verbal and (maybe) visual account of our time in Vietnam. -Marjorie