Watch a Beautiful Film by Michelle Mason
"THE FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE" - (51 Minutes)
A timely, inspiring film about our ability to transcend war, 'The Friendship Village' tells the story of George Mizo, a war hero-turned-peace activist after losing his entire platoon in an opening salvo of the 1968 Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War. George's journey to heal the wounds of war leads him back to Vietnam where he befriends the Vietnamese General responsible for killing his entire platoon. Through their friendship, the seeds of the Vietnam Friendship Village Project are sewn: a reconciliation project near Hanoi that treats children with Agent Orange-related illnesses. One man could build a village; one village could change the world. George Mizo also fasted for 47 days and almost died while participating in the ‘Veterans Fast For Life’ in 1986, along with S. Brian Willson, Duncan Murphy and Charlie Liteky in front of the Capitol Building in Washington DC, protesting U.S. policy of death & murder in Central America.
Vietnam Friendship Village Project USA - www.vietnamfriendship.org/wordpress
The Vietnam Friendship Village Project was initiated in 1988 by George Mizo, an American Vietnam veteran, and subsequently created in collaboration with Vietnamese and French veterans who shared his desire for peace and reconciliation. In the following years many people from different countries joined, and today an international committee with representatives from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Vietnam works to finance and manage the Friendship Village. Our partner in Vietnam is the Veterans Association of Vietnam. All members of the US support committee (VFVP-USA) are volunteers and through many different activities raise funds for the project while promoting principles of peace and reconciliation in the United States.
The Vietnam Friendship Village is a residential facility located in Hanoi, Vietnam that provides medical care, physical therapy, education and vocational training to Vietnamese children and elders with a range of maladies presumed to be caused by Agent Orange. Through raising support for this “village” in collaboration with other groups based in Vietnam, France, Germany, Japan and Canada, Vietnam Friendship Village Project USA provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to be part of an international community working to heal the wounds of war and create a model of cross-cultural cooperation based on caring, friendship and mutual respect.
The pictures & report below were sent by Becky Luening, who is a Member of Board of Directors of the Friendship Village.
Becky just returned from a trip to Vietnam, where she visited The Friendship Village. She is married to S. Brian Willson.
> Vietnam Friendship Village Project USA
Fashion Show THANK YOU <http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1352223/images/medium/e1354060260.jpg
Fan Dance <http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1352223/images/medium/e1354060349.jpg
The Fan Dance
Mother and Child Dance <http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1352223/images/medium/e1354060408.jpg
About the nurturing love of a mother, this dance features embroidery teacher and long-time VFV resident
Kung Fu Demo <http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1352223/images/medium/e1354060448.jpg
Friendship Village kids have been building strength through Kung Fu lessons
When You Believe solo <http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1352223/images/medium/e1354061967.jpg
"Who knows what miracles / you can achieve / when you believe..."
I'm in the process of sorting through snapshots and memories from our biennial international meeting at the Vietnam Friendship Village and organizing thoughts on paper for our next print newsletter.*
Meanwhile, I thought I'd share via email a handful of pics from the big show put on by VFV residents and friends on a warm evening at the end of October.
Friendship Village kids began practicing months in advance for this traditional entertainment night, and their performances were imbued with heart and soul. Excitement began building as the stage was put together, and spilled out into the crowd as everyone gathered to watch. We internationals got to sit in the front row!
To say their show "made us smile" is an understatement. It made us grin, it made us laugh, it made us shout with joy. And sometimes it moved us to tears.
Besides providing a glimpse of the fun for folks back home, these pictures illustrate a few of the things that make the Friendship Village great.
First of all, it's a cohesive community. I got a sense of that during my week-long stay in the village guesthouse. The community extends beyond the people who live and work daily at the Friendship Village to include children and families from the surrounding neighborhood, university students from Hanoi, and workers from hospitals and other institutions that collaborate with the village. Then there are those of us who work to raise support for the village at home in the USA, France, Germany, Japan and Canada—reflected in the first dance of the night, a "fashion show" featuring costumes symbolizing all these countries with a big "THANK YOU" at the end.
The collective effort of community enables beautiful things to happen (illustrated by the fan dance). Together, with the support of a broad community, the Friendship Village provides a place where individuals:
* receive nurturing care and treatment for specific conditions (mother-and-child dance);
* learn to work out personal conflict and develop strength and self-confidence (kung fu demo);
* receive encouragement and gain skills for fulfilling dreams... (The young woman in the wheelchair did an amazing rendition of the Mariah Carey song "When You Believe").
The thought that a few email recipients might actually read to the end of this message makes me smile... Your end-of-year donation to the Friendship Village, through VFVP-USA, will make us shout with joy!
THANK YOU for being part of our community.
In peace & friendship,
On behalf of VFVP-USA's Board of Directors
and the Viet Nam Friendship Village
*If you live in the USA and you're not already on our snail-mail list, click here <http://e2.ma/click/h4c5c/ljzrqe/xcecbb
> to sign up via our contact form.
Our goal is to raise $50,000 for the Friendship Village this year.
You can help!
Click here to make an online donation through Network for Good <http://e2.ma/click/h4c5c/ljzrqe/d5ecbb
Or simply send a check to the address below. THANK YOU!
P.O. Box 599 | Arcata, CA 95518 USA
The Vietnam Friendship Village provides therapy and medical care for 100-120 children with a variety of mental and physical conditions, as well as education and vocational training. About 40 adults at a time also receive residential treatment services. Since opening its doors in 1998, the village has grown in capacity, now caring for 150 individuals or more at any one time, as well as providing services to the surrounding community.
Located in Van Canh commune, Hoai Duc district, Ha Tay province, about 15 kilometers southwest of central Hanoi, the village today has more than nine family-style residences providing housing for girls and boys and their housemothers as well as special housing for severely disabled children. Other buildings house administrative offices, a medical clinic, a kitchen and dining hall, vocational studios, and educational facilities including a computer classroom. There are organic fruit and vegetable gardens, a medicinal herb garden, fishponds and farm animals.
Change is a key concept at the village. The children are grow, learn and respond well to good nutrition and various therapies, while facilities and programs are constantly improved and refined to best meet their needs.
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