Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus

OM MANI PADME the quintessential mantra of Asian Buddhism, with the most common translation...."The Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus."  The allegorical meaning is to find beauty in the most ugly and unlikely places or circumstances.
Just back from a humanitarian medical team trip to Vietnam with Vets With a Mission  ( ) , a Christian, faith based group of Vietnam vets who have been working in Vietnam for 25 years.  Having worked on many teams in many areas of Vietnam, I didn't take many clinic photos this trip....instead, I focused on the beauty I found in nature around these rural clinics in very poor villages.
Here's a link...check the blog for a complete team trip report.

We had a big team....over, PA's, ARNP, RN's, dentists, a pharmacist and a chiropractor........Great team....saw lots of patients in two in the rural outskirts of Hue City, and the other way out west near the Laotian border.  Here we served the very poor and underserved Ta Oi (Pa Co) montagard tribespeople.   

Common Albatross (Appias albina)

photo by Vinh Hoang

Long line of patients waiting to see the doctors.

Here's a link to a video of our clinic...filmed by a Peoples' Liberation Army Public Affairs team.  It was shown on the local VTV station.

Clinic video

Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)

Common Evening Brown (Melantis leda) en copula.

Bananas are everywhere in SE Asia.

Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber) ovipositing.

photo by Vinh Hoang
I love this photo, taken by Vinh....our Hue Union of Friendship sponsor.  The hat is worn by one of our university student interpreters....the lady in the background is a farm wife living in the An Hoa district outside of Hue.

HUEFO link

Clearwing Tiger Moth (Ceryx sphenodes)

Dr of our three dentists.  They ROCKED!  Most of these patients had never had any dental care before.

Here's a book for those NGOs working in developing nations, where often...there is no dentist...

Where There is No Dentist

Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida)

Rural graveyard

Skipper Pelopidas spp...maybe P. mathias? nectaring on Beggars Tick (Bidens alba)  a common weed in tropical latitudes (both in SE Asia and here in SW Florida), and a great butterfly plant!

Bob Thomas, PA.....fought in the battle of Hue City.  Here he walks some team vets through the battle on a team day off.  Below is a link to a video of the battle....see if you can find Bob....he is there, carrying his radio.

Striped Tiger (Danaus genutia)

Relieving the pain of a toothache is wonderful.....and with an abscess can even by life saving.

photo by Vinh Hoang

Green Triangle (Graphium agamemnon)

Common Picture Wing Dragonfly  (Rhyothemis variegata)....very large...often mistaken for a butterfly.

Asian Cabbage White (Pieris canidia)



Taro leaf with snail eggs.

Red Lacewing (Cethosia biblis) en copula.

Bananas and Papayas

My favorite Vietnamese movie " The Scent of Green Papaya."

Skipper ID is usually anybody's I'm guessing that this is a Banana Skipper (Erionata torus).

Saying goodbye to my friend and photography mentor, Mr Cu....leaving Hue and going west to A Luoi and the old A Shau valley.

Troung Son mountains...the Annamite Cordillera.

The Ta Oi people we treated are Hmong-Khmer and originally from Laos.....many migrated over the border during the war due to the intense bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the whole country of Laos.

Looks like it did in 1967...except for the satellite dish!

photo by Vinh Hoang
My job as triage nurse.  Many of these people spoke Pa Co, not Vietnamese, making assessment more difficult.

Save the Montagard People link

This wonderful group of Special Forces vets has done much to help the mountain tribesmen settling in the US.

The old A Shau valley....many of these hilltops were fire bases during the war.  Near the mountains corn is the staple crop, not rice.

Roomate Bob in our A Luoi hotel after a long clinic day.  Bob served with 5th Marines....I served with 7th.  He is a great clinician and a great guy.....we work well together.

Travelfish A Luoi guide

photo by Vinh Hoang
After 7 long clinic days....remembering the Ft Page motto...."Work very hard....never look tired."  

A tribute to Larry Page and all the CAP Marines

Here's a book you should read if you want to know why some Marine vets are still serving in Vietnam.

Like the beautiful Lotus flower that grows out of the mud in a dirty, stagnant pond....there is beauty in nature everywhere, so...

  keep your eyes and mind open wherever you are and whatever you are doing!