Hello from Hoi An!
The Exposure/VII Photo Workshop in Hue, Vietnam led by Gary Knight and Mort Rosenblum just finished up a few days ago, and it was a whirlwind. Seven of us had been prepping for the trip since May, doing researching on the region and generating story proposals so that we could hit the ground running. And with the help of Gary, Mort, and our wonderful fixer Chau, we did! The group’s topics ranged from rice farming to youth culture to faith, and everyone emerged on the other side with a strong piece and many stories to tell! One of mine includes fainting in the home of a woman who shot down an American F-101 Voodoo during the war – but we’ll get to that later.
The story I was looking at is called “Women at War,” in which I spoke to six women who fought for the North Vietnamese Army during the war with the United States. Each told stories of how she came to join the fight, what serving as a woman was like, and how her time as a soldier carried over into her life as a mother after the war. Some were reluctant to talk at first, and some began speaking before I even asked the first question. Some others refused to talk to me at all. Some spoke of how the war was formative to gender equality within the country, others of how it tore their family apart. Many spoke of how they continue to think of the war, and pass stories from it down to their children and their children’s children.
I’ll be posting their accounts here, along with a few photos and some of my own reflections, over the course of the next few days. This is still a work in progress, so I’d love to hear any suggestions or recommendations for other readings you may have. Leave a comment here or shoot me an email – and thanks!!