A homestay at a Vietcong house – Mr. Ba Linh’s house, a non-forgettable memory
Mekong Trails has organised a trip to the Mekong homestay of Mr. Ba Linh, a Vietcong with the interesting stories on his dinner table . This destination is a bed for us after a long day tour that we have ourselves lost in the maze of canals at Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Mr. Ba Linh is now 83 years old, and have 3 children: 2 sons and one daughters. He, a genuine Southern man, has joined army as he was 14 years old (1944) to forces against French. In 1954, he came to the North, to get a training, then later he would be back to the South for the war. He was a real Viet Cong then. In 1957 he went to Laos and in 1960 he was assigned to base in the Centre of Vietnam, leaving behind him a just-married lady in Nam Dinh province, the woman we met as arriving. In 1969 second lieutenant Ba Linh has been affected by Agent Orange in a troop to fight to Lang Vey, Khe Sanh. He doesn’t know all about the terrible harm of AO. And now he knows. The first son born in 1962 and the second daughter born in 1965, as he trooped pass by Nam Dinh Province, are alright; but the last son, born in 1971, has been affected by the AO in Ba Linh’s body. Till now the chemical still tortures his body with the endless pain and his body has got contracted everyday.
In 1975 he went back to the South with the whole family, settled down in Mekong Delta, where we stay now as a Mekong homestay, and became a real farmer. No more fighting, no more worry. And now he has a happy life with a good family, good contacts to tourists and good wine made from tree roots that he believes strongly that this can cure his AO body.
He has the unforgettable memories. That was the three times of meeting Ho Chi Minh President: one in President Palace in Hanoi, one in Xuan Mai village 30km away from Hanoi, and one in Nam Dinh province. That was the fighting in 23 Dec 1969, when his company captured two colonels of South Vietnam Army. That was the 45 days surrounding Horse shoes hill, hill 400 in 1970. That was 45 minutes in 7 Jan 1971 his company has conquered 550 bunkers and lost only 23 lives
As we asked him how he felt as meeting his ex-enemies: French and American, he laughs and says: “No problem at all, I know that they just come here by the command of their commanders. Now no more war and no more fighting. Why should we keep that heavy thinking in our mind?
Mr. Ba has war against American before 1975, and now he welcomes them back to his home for a dinner, as friends in his house as a Mekong homestay.
Hereafter are some pictures capturing the moments of Mekong homestay.
We start at the boat quay. The scene of a enormous water surface has widen our heart and mind
We are too much spoiled by the comfort on the boat zigzaging at the maze of canels overthere
Rowing boat at this water world, we feel so peaceful in our mind
We arrive the Mekong homestay house of Mr. Ba Linh
They don’t use much language because one only understands Vietnamese and others only speak English. However, they understand one another, by the language of the smiles and cares.
The first meeting is with a lot of introduction
A cup of tea is a hospitable attitude to any visitor
The Mekong homestay dinner comes around 7 pm. What a fantastic meal with elephant ear fish, with prawn, spring rolls and all others we can’t remember. Having the meal, drinking several cup of house wine ( that make from tree roots), we forget ourselves by going along his story – his life. “Welcome to my house, we treat you as our valuable friends”