• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Friday, September 30, 2005

    Update on Typhoon Damrey

    Dakini was right, "There's always thousands of people swept away here in the rainy season, or buried under mudslides." Fox reports on a little of the aftermath.

    Typhoon Damrey, which came ashore early Tuesday with winds of up to 63 mph, was the worst storm to hit Vietnam in a decade, leaving at least 41 people dead.

    ...More than 900 feet of sea dikes were breached in Vietnam, inundating villages along the coast from Hai Phong to Thanh Hoa...

    At least 25 people remain missing from Yen Bai, provincial flood control official Nguyen Dinh Vo said.

    More than 100 people were injured in the flash flooding triggered by Typhoon Damrey...
    It looks like the death toll is far less than it could have been, because over 300,000 people were evacuated before the storm hit, but obviously such a storm severly hurts.

    I remember the scenic view out of Cat Ba last summer as I stayed on the island. The limestone mountains/islands jutted out of the bay just like dragon's teeth. Vinh Ha Long truly is aptly named. The people were kind. Quite a different lot than in Hanoi or other northerners. They lived in harmony with the ocean and with tourists. An interesting combination. Some spent their whole lives on floating houses and shrimping boats. Others ran discotheques and hotels.

    The teens I talked with split into two categories...those who embraced their fate of life on the island and those who longed for something else. The world for most ended where the beaches started. Their education was minimal and they accepted the reality that they would do the same job their father/mother did, get pregnant early, and raise a family like their parents did.

    Or maybe their acceptance made the reality.

    The other minority group of teens realized Cat Ba was a small island in a big world, and dreamed of going to college, moving to Hai Phong or, if lucky, farther, and experiencing something new. However, they were stopped because they had no money. Instead they sold books, ice cream, or gave massages to help the family pay the bills, every night dreaming big aspirations and every morning waking up to the same life.

    I loved the people of Cat Ba, and wish often that I can someday return and help those who want to have the experience of achieving goals off the island. I loved the people that love the island and the sea. They taught me about the superfluous nature of so much tangible belongings. I loved the scenery...the rainforest was breathtaking, beaches beautiful, and water warm.

    I will drop a line to those I know in the area and hopefully gain some experiences to share. Pray for everyone affected by the typhoon (and hurricanes in America) as I will.

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