First things first. God is working in my life. That is not a matter of fact statement as the fact of Him working is a given. The only point really is that He is moving and I’m invited.
Wednesday. 3 hours South of Ho Chi Mihn City
I’m in a 2-walled steel thatched house packing up my gear after my first shoot for a program called Operation Healthy Heart. The subject, a boy, Vu, who has a heart condition where if he plays he will faint. Then eventually die. So he sits away from friends and fun. His mother mirrors the meek harvest surrounding us, and also too dies slowly as cancer is the sole occupant of her stomach.
The father is mid 30’s with dark skin. He has a good smile that veers to the left at first and then well into both sides when in full bloom. He doesn’t farm now. He can’t, there isn’t time. For money he rides his motobike through the fields varying in crop, past the goats who sound the same here as they do back home, and out to the big city in search for a day labor job that pays him more than a day’s work of farming.
Vu’s surgery costs 2700 US.
The 4 locals are looking at me in the middle of this vacant farm. Neighbors are scarce and funding for anything is even scarcer. In the midst of this description of the scene that seems to get sadder by the sentence) a conversation started between the husband and wife which that made it hard for me not to laugh as it translated to me by the second by my fixer.
The conversation while looking at me, not knowing it was being translated to me;
“He’s tall” mom states.
Yeah, he’s tall” Dad adds.
M-”I wonder who this film maker is?
D-I think he is Russian.
M-No He is American.
D-He looks Russian.
M-”He has a strong nose”
D-”He’s handsome, and strong”
M-”He’s so tall…..and pail”
D-Yeah, it’s like the sun doesn’t see him, He’s so pail”
M-”Ya pail…..I wonder if he is married? He would make strong children.”
I interrupted. That coversation needed to be steered. My EMW friend/translator, Cathy, says that Vietnamese people will say everything they are thinking to each other but only what you want to hear if speaking to a foreigner.
If it isn’t obvious that I am tall by Vietnamese standards, then at least 5 times daily, someone will inform me of that fact.
Everywhere I go I am introduced, “This is an American film maker, he is working for charity.” Many get an informal greeting in this way. So I smile and say, “Cuay Kum”. You learn much about people quickly, even if it is not true.
Quite often authorities will stop my shoot and ask questions. They are called, “The People’s Party” or sometimes “The People”. Whenever they come around there is a sentence that is said that translates to, “He is working to strengthen Vietnam”. At that The People will look over at me and I will nod. And all seems to be gravy after that.
So I am now a Nationalist.
Praise God for allowing us in His plans. I opened the Bible and yelled to the streets of Ho Chi Mihn City. By the way, if you open God’s word, you meet with God…no matter where you are in the world or life.