“Fatherland” on American Soil

The playground of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where nearly 100 Vietnamese students are attending undergraduate and graduate classes, was full of gracefully Vietnamese ‘ao dai’ (Vietnamese traditional dresses).


The Vietnamese Student Association at Marshall University has just hosted a fundraising buffet at Marco's in the Memorial Student Center to support the Vietnamese victims of Typhoon Xangsane.


Despite the cold and gloomy weather, bright smiles still appeared on the young Vietnamese faces and the atmosphere of the fundraising buffet for the typhoon’s victims was getting warmer and warmer. The whole lot of lunch dishes prepared for more than 300 people was sold out within an hour.


Dozens of souvenirs and gifts donated by students were also on sale for typhoon relief efforts earning hundreds of dollars from the school staff and its international students.

The total amount of US$2,500 collected from the fundraising buffet will be sent to Vietnam for the victims.


More people came to the buffet than expected. As a result, there was a lack of food to serve fundraisers, and the organizers offered to pay back the ticket money to those who could not taste any Vietnamese dish but most refused to accept saying they wanted to contribute to the charity cause.


The idea of the fundraising comes from the irresistible tears on the faces of overseas students when hearing about the huge damage and suffering caused by the typhoon in the central part of Vietnam, especially Da Nang. Information about the fundraising was actively spread among Vietnamese students in the past several days via the school’s media.


Never before have the Vietnamese students’ solidarity gone up to such a height!  Despite their time, work, study and exams, every preparatory step for the fundraising was enthusiastically and considerately carried out. Desire for sharing suffering losses of their fellow-citizens has brought the overseas students closer together. Being more successful than expected, the fundraising has further tightened the friendship among the Vietnamese student community and enhanced the prestige of the Vietnamese Student Association at Marshall University.


That was just a little-chilly early autumn day and might drift away as hundreds of usual days snowed under work, study and numerous nameless routines in our life as overseas students living far away from home. However, unified in heart and determined in mind to do something to share the sufferings of disaster-affected fellow-citizens, the Vietnamese Student Association at Marshall University did have a very special day – a day that will be forever remembered and long-lastingly recalled in the years to come.   


Reported by Quynh Thanh - Nha Khanh

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