Goodnight Vietnam ft. Dr. Gordon and Ground Partner Vu
When I got off the plane to start this trip I never expected this. This sense of belonging. This sense of greater purpose. This sense of connection that I now have with the world.
Vietnam is an untouched wonder
Where the light shines a bit brighter
Where the world seems a bit warmer
Where the smiles seem a bit more real
I’m Phorum Sheth and I’m the Program Coordinator at CureCervicalCancer. This is the last day of my second trip with CCC but I’ll carry these days with me forever.
I met Vu, our ground partner in Vietnam, when I got off the plane. He’s a small man but his smile is the biggest I’ve ever seen. He can fill a room with his passion and joy-and he has. Many times. Rooms filled with women Vu has found for us to screen.
Vu has been with CCC for five years working as our ground partner. He met Dr. Gordon on his job as a tour guide through Vietnam. When Vu heard Dr. Gordon ran a Los Angeles nonprofit that helps women in developing countries, he tells me, “I had an idea. My mother was a doctor in rural areas of Vietnam. I watched patients come to my home, including a woman who gave birth right at my front door.”
Vu decided to try to persuade Dr. Gordon to come to Vietnam but really didn’t expect much from it. Yet while on a tour in Hanoi with Vu, Dr. Gordon saw a Cancer Hospital and made him stop the car so they could check it out. Vu, shocked by this strange request, said I don’t think so. “You cannot do this. This is not allowed.” Dr. Gordon proceeded to jump a wall and while Vu protested Dr. Gordon’s son Ben, told him it was pointless. She entered the closed clinic and started directing the doctors there. Despite protests from doctors and an incessant Vu, she got what she broke in for. She promised to return and though no one believed her, within a few months she was back to set up clinics.
Visiting the clinics again Vu is so impressed with the impact CureCervicalCancer has had so far. He tells me he thinks they are incredibly efficient and he’s getting no complaints from anyone as the Hoanh Bo Clinic saw 180 patients in 4 hours. He’s excited and is hopeful that CCC will return to help other areas of Vietnam.
Vu is Vietnam personified. Cultured and polite with a deep sense of community. A strong motivation to create change.
Vu says, “As a tour guide I’ve seen all over Vietnam a real need for healthcare. I want to help them from my heart, to give them a hand. I felt lucky to meet Dr. Gordon who is running this organization world-wide.”
Dr. Gordon told me prior to the trip: “Take advantage of this opportunity that you have in front of you. This is the only time in your life you won’t be a tourist. You’re being invited into these people’s lives. Be enriched by their culture.”
This beautiful energetic woman has so much to offer the world. I implore anyone who is reading this to stop and take a moment to consider the breadth of impact this single woman has made on the world. She is unlike the rest of us. Not limited by our natural laws, our fears, our unwillingness to bend the rules, our obsession to do things the right way. She has accomplished something indescribable this way. Breaking through these walls she has made it possible for 30,000 women in Vietnam alone to rest easy knowing they are protected from this horrific and completely preventable disease. And many more will have that opportunity as our organization grows. She is watching over them like she’s watching over women all over the globe. So sleep tight girls. Dr. Gordon is watching over us.
I’ll leave you with one more thing before I say goodnight to Vietnam.
It’s impossible to live fully
To live without need.
To live without want.
To live without love.
I can’t figure out what the world needs.
Does it need money?
Does it need education?
Does it need food?
Does it need healthcare?
Does it need me?
My whole life has been about this question
Relief from this ongoing loop in my head.
How can I be a contribution?
How can I make a difference?
How can I see myself in a special way doing what needs to be done?
How far am I willing to go?
How much do I want to help?
What’s my limit?
I could never say.
One day I will look upon these walls [in Ha Long Bay] again and see them differently.
I’ll see them less as keeping people out but as keeping good things in.
Change your perspective and you can change the world.
A special shoutout to Dr. Gordon and Vu for giving me this rich knowledge. I’ll never be the same.
-Phorum Sheth PC
Note- excerpts from poem by Phorum Sheth