A Fateful Journey
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by Frank Shortt
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Thanh (pronounced TAN) was always an adventurous lad. He sometimes led the other boys in his village in Vietnam to places they had never been. Then, war came to their land instigated by the Communists of the North! Survival became the utmost thought in ever person's mind in the little Village of Troc Le! Men of anger attacked the small villages of Vietnam, killing at the least command those whom they deemed to stand in their way!
Word came to Thanh's parents that a small boat was leaving the war ravaged land. The boat was too small for so many who decided to embark on the adventure of their lives. After not many days, the engine of the small boat stalled, leaving the hundred and twenty afloat. Only enough food remained to last a few days. Help and safety was very remote. Mothers, who were always mothers, muttered softly at night thinking of ways that their children could survive this awful ordeal. Soon all around began to notice missing body parts of some of the mothers, but the children did not realize the great sacrifice these mothers were making to provide enough nourishment for survival.
The small boat somehow floated to a small island somewhere between Malaysia and the Philippines. Enough water was found to quench their awful thirsts and had not an American warship stopped offshore giving them a small amount of aid, they would have surely perished. This warship was headed to the war zone so could not take then in as passengers. The sparse food they left only lasted a little while. The mothers divided it up among the children, starving themselves, thus causing the deaths of some of them. Thanh lost his mother because of her devotion to him.
In the nick of time, some fishermen from the Philippines came by the island, rescuing the remainder of the band. They were able to tow the small boat with some inside, meanwhile taking some on board their fishing boat. They finally reached the Philippine Islands and Thanh was grateful beyond words to once again have a nourishing meal and a safe place to sleep. The remainder of this little band began to immerse themselves among the residents of the small village they were taken to. Thanh very seldom saw any of the ones who had fled Vietnam. He grew in stature and wisdom toward manhood.
Thanh was determined to expand his horizons. As soon as opportunity allowed he took sail on a boat heading for Japan. Arriving there, he sought help at a monastery and with the help of priests there he was given an education, and as he grew older obtained a job. With a strong will and a great work ethic, Thanh was able to make a good life in Japan. Later, he met and married a young lady who had also fled the war-torn land of their nativity.
Next, we find this immigrant of Southeast Asia in Pittsburg, Penn. In the U.S. of A. This proved to be a haven for this industrious young man. The company he was with saw his potential of leadership and expansion so they offered him a transfer to sunny California. After a while, keeping his nose to the grindstone, Thanh was able to further expand his horizons by starting his own company of exports and imports. This young man of Vietnamese descent is an example to all of us as we seek new adventures. The last I heard of this man, he was moving to Portland, Ore. on a new and exciting phase of a very venturesome journey, Where he will end up, only God knows!