Thirty years after the Vietnam war, Rosa Thay returned home from the U.S. Getting on the plane, she did not know what to expect. The years had passed by quickly. She stepped off the plane. The familiar air brought back memories of her childhood. She took a deep breath and took in her surroundings. A taxi was waiting for her and her colleagues to take them to the hotel. The ride to the hotel appeared long to her. She sat quietly in the taxi while her colleagues chatted away about their excitement seeing their relatives after so many years. She stared out the car’s window. Everything seemed old and appeared to have no life. She remembered when she left the country in April 1975, there were dead bodies everywhere. Now she saw nothing of the sort, just a melancholic spirit to the country she once knew and loved. War has a way killing the human spirit, but at the same time, it makes one realize the reality of human morality and the fragility of life.
At the hotel, she checked in and unpacked her luggage. The next several weeks she visited her relatives, villagers, and the nearby orphanages. One night while having dinner with her relatives, she saw a woman with two children that went from house to house begging for food. Everyone turned her and her children away. Thay asked the villagers why no one gave her and the children food. The villagers replied that they did not have enough food for their family let alone for helping others. Thay later approached the young woman. She spent time chatting with the unidentified woman for a while. The woman told her that she was in her early twenties. She worked on and off as a servant in the village, but on days where she was not needed, she begged for food for her and her children. Thay asked her if she had any skills and the young woman replied that she could make very good tofu. However, she did not have the equipment to make the tofu to be a vendor. After inquiries, Thay helped the young woman with the purchase of the equipment needed to make tofu.
During that same week, word reached Thay that there was a pregnant woman in the village contemplating abortion. Thay requested to see the young woman. The young woman told Thay that she did not have the money to pay for hospital or doctor costs to deliver or even taking care of a baby. After a long conversation, Thay talked the young woman out of getting an abortion. Thay later contacted her friends and family, and she was able to raise the funds to help the young woman. Subsequently, the young woman delivered a healthy baby boy. Thay then sponsored the baby boy with his medical care and schooling.
During the same trip, Thay also visited a number of orphanages. She witnessed the unfortunate reality of orphans lacking the proper living arrangement and medical care. After returning home, Thay contacted her friends and family members and raised some funds to help the orphans. However, she felt it was not enough and she wanted to do more to ease children suffering in the world.
A journey home gave Thay an opportunity to see that many children needed our help. She felt that all children deserve a chance for a healthy life. The baby boy saved by the funds she raised made her realize that there are many people in the world who care about children and their well being.