Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hoa's Story

Recently, our friend Phuong at the Vietnam Agency for victims of Agent Orange (VAVA), told us about Hoa (Flower).

Hoa is mobility impaired and lives in extreme poverty with her husband and two adorable children. As you can see Hoa contributes to the family income by doing hand stitching on shoes on the floor of her small house. These shoes will retail at no more than five dollars a pair, and so Hoa probably earns just pennies per pair.

Hoa lives in Hoi An, within 45 kilometers of Da Nang, where huge stores of the Agent Orange dioxin were kept during the war. Now, Hoa has been diagnosed with breast cancer. There is no money for surgery or treatment of any kind. Friends and neighbours are doing what they can to raise funds for "medicine", probably herbal remedies.

Because of their poverty and Hoa's impairment, she and her family live in a one story shack. Unfortunately, this humble abode is also on the flood plane. Every year during the monsoons, they have endured the hardship of water sloshing through the house.

Hoa's husband earns his living driving a motor bike taxi and is heart broken that he can not provide a more comfortable dwelling for his ailing wife. We have committed to sending money towards the rent of a place for them, which will be safe from the rising waters in the next few months.

This story of one family's plight has touched me deeply. The legacy of Agent Orange has dealt Hoa a double blow. The lack of aid and care from the Vietnamese and more importantly the US governments for the victims of this relentless poison seems shameful to me.

Please remember Hoa in your prayers and in your donations to our Journey of the Heart.
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