In Vietnam, I spent several days trekking out to the rice field laden countryside to visit the ancestral homes (que huong) of my grandparents: the rural villages of Kinh Nuoc Man and Binh Dai. These villages have pretty much stayed the same for hundreds of years, located in the sleepy, balmy Mekong Delta of Vietnam where people grow coconuts, rice, durians, chom chom, fisheries, shrimp and more. In these villages, I could trace ancestors going back hundreds of years in these towns.
Here are some photos of my trip:
My mother escaped Vietnam on a rickety fishing boat at this very same spot 30 years ago. She was a boat refugee who spent weeks out at sea, months in a refugee camp in Malaysia and the Philipines, and finally sponsored to America. Many others who tried to escape were not as fortunate: strong storms capsizing boats, thai pirate attacks, capture from the communist police, countless millions lost at sea after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
I never met my grandfather on my mom’s side, both grandparents passing away by the time my mom was 12. They say that my granduncle (my grandfather’s brother) resembles them so I have an idea of what he may have looked like.
Fish from the rivers