River of Tears!

by James Murtaugh, Aug 19, 2004 | Destinations: Vietnam / Da Nang

Danang, Vietnam.

A hot spring day. A walk along the river. Vietnamese people seem to love the water and at the start and finish or a day you will find people enjoying whatever body of water that is close to their home. Perhaps the air is just a little cooler.

There is a park running along the river. A nice afternoon! I walk past a large group of people on the shore. There is something wrong here. I don't know what it is but I can tell by the way the crowd is acting. I ask a man passing by what is going on? He says a child has drowned and that the family and friends are waiting for the body to come to the surface to recover it.

In America, the fire department, police divers and a helocopter would be searching for the child. Here, in Vietnam there is only time.

I stop a tourist from taking pictures. Not the time or place. As a father myself, I feel the pain of loss this family must feel. I would have liked to tell the family how sorry I was. It was a sad ending to my day.

In the morning we board our bus to leave Danang. In the early light our bus passes the place where the child died. The crowd is gone. But a few family members still stand there looking out to the water, waiting.... waiting for the river to give up their child. The light of their life. Life can be so cruel. Even today, I can still see them waiting...

Jim Murtaugh

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