Saturday, June 14, 2008

"Uncle Billy's" letter from Vietnam.... January and February 2009
NY Rotary Member Bill DeLong sends greetings from Vietnam. Hello to all. The weather is hot and now I am a Millionaire. 17 thousand and 400 hundred Dong equals one US Dollar. Gas is 2 dollars a liter and every one has a motor bike. We only see buses and taxis - almost no automobiles.I am working with the DUC DUC Street Children Project. It was founded in 1997 to care for over 150 Self earning children in Ho Chi Min City. It is an organization that strives to protect children from abuse, reducing illiteracy by promoting schooling and vocational training, providing health care education for children ages 5 to 17 or there-abouts, and keeping relationship with their families.It is a very active organization and it seems to work. So far I have been with the children at the sewing school center to prepare young students to work in clothing factories. I also spent a day with one of the world's largest cement factories that bags it for cargo ships for world wide contractors. The library where they are being taught computer skills is a big project. Little boys and girls are learning English to use the computers. The children are looking for attention and affection as many do not live with their families - were abandoned as babies and live at various homes and shelters.I have been giving some dancing lessons as another form of relaxation. Christoph the Munich Rotarian is here and has been a wonderful advisor and has helped to see that I am placed in various projects. I am living in a Guest House which includes Bed and Breakfast and there are many Australians and New Zealand Backpackers here as well.On my time off I called on the new 2004 SHERATON HOTEL Manager, was received with a great big hello and welcome . enjoyed fresh fruit and tid-bits and met the staff. Next week I will call on the American Consulate as the US Embassy is in Hanoi and meet the staff and get the lowdown on what is going on in Israel/Palestine. Now I hear Lebanon is getting involved. how things have changed since my working in the American Embassy back in 1948 when Palestine became Israel,and many years later. Having been a Volunteer in both countries I am hoping the people I know and worked with are still alive. I enjoyed life in both Syria and Jordan before all this confusion, war, and terrorist attacks.Today is Sunday and a day to myself. Doing some sightseeing with Australian backpackers. There are no US Tourists presently - at least I have not met any so far. The country has a poverty level but not like I found out when working in India in February/March with the Red Cross in 2008. My friend Andrei, a Banker gave me a bag of candy so yesterday we all had a candy party I will visit the Vietnamese Water Puppet Show. I saw it years ago and I hear the new show is terrific. Will buy a DVD if possible so one and all in USA can enjoy this new kind of entertainment.My personal and warm regards to all for year 2009, especially my friend Andreas. See you all some time in ever,Uncle Billy, the Rotary Vagabond.PS I am known here as Billy DeDragon as Long is the name for Dragon in their language and guess what? When I worked in China and stayed at the Backpackers Hostel, a photo was taken of me and placed on the bulletin board as the visit from an American Dragon. Yesterday an incoming backpacker recognized me as he saw my photo on the bulletin board in the Beijing Hostel. So what else is new crazy world we live in. Photo: Uncle Billy helping with a Special education School at the Siason Zoo


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