My Lai: Innocents Massacred by Heros

By Alex Colvard   These are the names of the 504 innocent Vietnamese villagers that were massacred by American GIs. Whole families were killed on March 3, 1968 when American soldiers were given the order to shoot anything that moved, including elderly people, pregnant women, mothers and fathers and 104 children. This past weekend we […]

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Honking in Vietnam Equals Safety

Honking in Vietnam Equals Safety Living in California were used to viewing honking at other drivers on the road as something disruptive, rude and maybe even vulgar but in Vietnam honking equals safety. With all the cars and motorbikes on narrow roads it is important to alert motorbikes and pedestrians that you are coming through […]

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A Weekend in Hoi An

There are some natural places in the world where it is hard to take a bad photograph because of all the natural beauty – Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone come to mind. There is a town in central Vietnam where that is also the case. Hoi An was the main port city for the ancient Champa […]

“Clean Green Sunday”

If one has lived or travelled in developing countries one is often struck by the amount of trash that seems to be everywhere. City governments around the world are overwhelmed by the natural waste, much less the non-biodegradeable waste that piles up every day. Traveling through a country like India can often be a depressing experience, simply seeing the […]

Haircuts and Earwax

One of the most surprising and often unexpected things of living in Vietnam is the enormous entrepreneurial spirit among the population.  One might think that since the government is officially communist there would be a dearth of interest in private enterprise and initiative. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Today, walking down a sidewalk towards […]

Cham Island

After a week of Vietnamese language and culture study it was time for a break from the relative hustle and bustle of Danang.  On most weekends while we are in Danang we will be visiting important historical sites – from My Lai to Hue to My Son to Hoi An.  But on this first weekend […]

Vietnam Independence Day

September 2 for the Vietnamese is their equivalent of our July 4.  On that day in 1945 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s “George Washington,” stood up in Ba Dinh square in Hanoi and declared Vietnam independent from 80 years of French rule. In his speech he quoted the U.S. declaration to make his case: “All men are […]

First days in Danang

We’re here!  After a rather long journey of almost 48 hours, including a 24 hour layover in Seoul, South Korea, we touched down in Danang and were spirited by bus to the Magnolia Hotel, which we will call home for the next five weeks. Students will be studying Vietnamese language, along with the history, religion, […]

Good Morning Vietnam!

We’re off to Vietnam! 10 students and two faculty from FPU (Ken and Fran Martens Friesen, along with their teenage daughter) are off to experience a world very different than their own – full of the mystery of Asia along with the reminders of a world of U.S. foreign policy that some might want to forget. […]