Here is Saigon

I arrived in Saigon on Monday. All is well and strong and healthy. It’s dawn on my first morning. This is the sidewalk cafe of the Hotel Continental. Yes, that Continental.

At the Hotel Continental, Ho Chi Minh City

We are a few days in Saigon before we fly to Danang in Central Viet Nam. A first event here was a panel discussion on women running nonprofits or foundations in Vietnam. Le Ly was on the panel, “Women Entrepreneurs & Social Impact” at the American Center at the U.S. Embassy and our small group all joined her.

Press Officer Bintu Musa-Harry, Le Ly who runs the Global Village Foundation, and Trang Nguyen, founder of Dear Our Community in Saigon speak 2-21 to a large gathering of young women leaders in Vietnam.

Le Ly had words of advice for the young women. “Don’t fall in love and have babies. Put on a back pack and see reality. Go out in the world and help people. When you say ‘yes’, you open a door.” Trang was born when Vietnam was just opening to visitors and commerce after the 20-year U.S. embargo was lifted. Have a mission, yes, Trang said. But learn what organizations and communities specifically need.

Later we went to a small restaurant up a flight of stairs on a backstreet beside a small museum in a small, narrow building. Beneath it was a a tunnel where soldiers once stockpile massive amounts of weapons and munitions. The museum honors the stealth and skill of the soldiers at this site beneath and beside a popular local cafe frequented by soldiers of the South and Americans. Everyone here has their own story about the American war in their country if you ask them. At the same time, I have heard GI slang, and they have the most wonderful French way to make a cup of coffee.

11 Responses to “Here is Saigon”

  1. mimi Beth white

    I am amazed. History come alive–yes that Hotel. You look radiant. Thank you for taking the time to write us back here and everywhere in the world where people follow you. It’s a snow day here! I had babies, I fell in love. Now is my time to see what others need. Sending so much love, Mimi

  2. Maren C. Tirabassi

    Wonderful — thank you. My small chuckle — I am imagining Le Ly saying “you mothers — don’t insist your daughters fall in love and have babies (well, not yet) so they feel free to put on a backpack and go!

  3. Katherine Towler

    Oh, I wish I was there with you! So wonderful to see these photos and to be transported to a place I love so. A young woman I worked with at the university in Hanoi who became a dear friend was also named Trang Nguyen. Thank you for bringing us with you.

  4. judith dickerman-nelson

    Terry, I am so glad that you are sharing your journey for the rest of us!
    Thank you!

    • terryfarish

      Hi Judith, I’m thinking of you here. I know you traveled to Cambodia with students and it would have been so intense.


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