Sans frontier volunteers coming to Ben Tre

During this year's Green Summer Campaign, a mixed group of 6 Vietnamese and 6 American students have come to Dinh Thuy Commune, Mo Cay District, and built "nha tinh thuong"(Houses of Mercy) for poor people in Dinh Nghia Village.

The atmosphere of work here in the Mo Cay front this year was very exciting, and members of the GSC group were in a hurry with construction works such as concrete mixing, wood work, ground leveling, and brick laying. They were both working and chit-chatting rollickingly all the time.

The excitedness could be even more clearly seen in the guest students coming from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. "I am very glad to join the volunteer GSC group coming to the homeland of Dong Khoi, especially in Dinh Thuy Commune, Mo Cay District, for I've got to know through reading books that this is the craddle for the Dong Khoi Movement during the war before 1975,"confided Mr James Richman, a third-year economics student from the US University of Duke.

"It's truly very emotional, and it's even more emotional when we were very warmly and hospitably welcome by the local people. After days living here among them, their coziness made us feel unable to leave the "Homeland of Dong Khoi". This is the first time I carry such heavy loads of dust and earth, but it's important that I feel very good because I my own hands have laid the brick in building mercy houses so that poor people like Mr Le Xuan Khanh can shelter from sunlight and rain, and can keep on going to work for a living. I am doing the degree in economics, but my dream during my childhood was to become a doctor, so after graduating from the Duke I will go on studying medicine to become a cancer specialist, and then I will come to Vietnam again in order to take care of poor patients here," he said.

Ms Hiliary, residential director of the Duke University in Vietnam, said: "I am very happy to join the GSC in Dinh Thuy, because this is the second time I come here, and the people in Dinh Thuy still recognize me and treat me very well like a relative of theirs. For this year's GSC, our group include 6 students from the Ho Chi Minh City's University of Foreign Trade, and 6 students from the US University of North Carolina and University of Duke."

And it's not only the American students. Truong Linh Phuong, a third-year student from the UFT, said in jubilance: "I very much like to join the GSC, and I am very proud to station in the Mo Cay front, especially in Dinh Thuy Commune. Particularly in this campaign, it's very interesting to have the American students joining in our group, and it's also a very good chance for us to learn from each other and exchange our knowledge and experiences at school both in Viet Nam and in the US."

The 32-sqm mercy house built by the above 12 students was reportedly granted to Mr Khanh on August 4, 2006. It was built with concrete columns, corrugated iron roofings, and Chinese tile floorings. The total expenses for the house, which was calculated at VND 7 million, were fully contributed by the 12 students who joined the construction work.

In addition, the American students also taught English for 130 students of the local secondary school. They taught both communicative and professional English in various fields such as environment, health care, tourism, etc. And the English class was applauded very much by the students' parents.