Vietnam. It’s a relatively new country. Tortured roots, people who only recently can decide their own fate. There is tremendous pride and great opportunity. But touring this country you see the disparity and feel the potential of a quickly emerging wealthy class amid many living a traditional and hard life.
Some things seem to work. A microeconomy to distribute goods to community pockets, providing a living to a chain of resellers. But infrastructure in many areas is poor. Education is valued but I’m not sure about the systems or access.
Yes it is a communist country but they say with a free market. You see major brands building large factories taking advantage of the wide open space and eager workforce. The big hotels are starting to arrive and the prestige of brand name consumer goods tug at thin wallets.
Development brings jobs but also destruction of greenspaces, something that is at the heart of this country. I am not an expert but collectively there is something worrying here.
And yet, how can we help? So far, I’ve been exposed to small ways. I’m traveling with Intrepid Travel which promotes responsible travel. They support local causes (like Blue Dragon) with funding and exposure through their tours. Intrepid is a large Australian tour organization and very supportive of east Asia. I understand from my travel mates that Aussies are culturally a very compassionate people. I see that in the way these folks travel and interact with respect for the land and its people.
I’m sure this is just one of many developing countries and that the situations are similiar. So the question is “how can we help?” They want good jobs here or elsewhere. They want good education here or elsewhere. But there’s more that we can give in the way of knowledge, support and connections.
It is my next journey of discovery – how to help beyond the borders of my city and country.