11 Feb Achieving the American Dream
Submitted by Rebecca Mallory
I was born in 1965.
Family of seven; Mom, Dad, three boys, and two girls. I am the second child in the family.
Before 1975 life in Vietnam was fairly good.
We live in a city called Da lat (South Vietnam)
We owned our own house. It small but its our home.
Mom and Dad had to work hard, but there always food on the table.
4/30/1975 was the day that changed our and all the people’s life in South Vietnam.
It was the day the Americans pulled out and the communists took control over Vietnam.
I was 10 years old, we abandoned our house and move further south to the countryside.
We became homeless and my father had pass away in 1978 due to over working and malnutrition.
The school system back then, all that they would teach was about communism and how great they were. They taught us that the Americans were the most notorious enemies and English and French languages are forbidden in school.
As for toys, we had to make our own toys from scraps, woods or mud.
The communists took away everything we owned and tried to make everyone equal. People and citizens didn’t own anything. The Government owned your house, your land, livestocks, even your furniture. The Government will come and take them whenever they are needed. You must obtain a permit before you can slaughter your own pig or cow and you must give the leader the best cut and a large potion of what you butchered.
Communists tell you who to believe and what to worship.
Vietnam is beautiful country, and the Vietnamese people are friendly and smart, we have lots of natural resources, but the communist doesn’t know how to use them.
Communists turned Vietnam into a poorest country in the world.
Nov. 1980, with 21 other people, my older brother, and I got into a small riverboat and left Vietnam in the middle of the night in search for freedom, a better life, and an opportunity.
Chance for survival was very slim. We could have been shot and kill by the Police or coast guard and our boat could sink or we could get lost at sea.
First night and day at sea I had no memory at all due to sea sick and passed out.
Second day Thailand’s pirates raided us. They raped women, beated up children and tossed men over board. They destroyed our engine, took our gasoline, food and water supply.
Drifting hopelessly at sea with no food and water. By the end of day four, a Malaysian fishing boat show up and offer to pull us to shore.
Day five we arrived to Malaysia shore. Next day they transferred us to a small island to joint with 10 thousand or more of other Vietnamese refugees. This place we call home for the next 17 months. Here we wait for the USA and other countries come to interview us. What countries were applying for will interview and lets us know if we are accepted or rejected by that country. Back then to me any country is better than Vietnam as long as it’s not communist country. Life here in the refugee camp was very tough, but we know its only temporary. For all this months I owned only one pair of pant and one shirt. I wash my clothes once a week at night. Food supplies was scares. (Very thankful to the RED CROSS) Once a week per person we were blessed with 5 gallons of fresh water, 7 bags of Ramen noodle, one lbs of rice, a can of canned chicken (the size of tuna can), a spoon full of salt, a spoon full of sugar, a hand full of soy beans, and a cup of cooking oil.
We live on an island but we were not allowed to go fishing. Finally, USA accepted us. Once we were accepted, we transferred to another camp in the main land. We were at this camp for 7 months.
Here we had to go through the health screening, getting all the required shots and processing paper work to enter USA.
From here we were transferred to another camp in Philippines. We stayed here for 9 months to learn American culture, American History, and Basic English.
July 1983 we arrived in Phoenix, AZ. The Government gave us a loan to pay for the airfare to fly to America. Once have jobs we pay back the loan. The Government gave us housing and food stamps for the first three months. With the help of the volunteer social workers, they helped us to look for jobs, school, churches, and foster families. My brother and I were very blessed. Both of us were adopted into the Myers family and that is how I have an American name and became an American citizen.
First year in school in the USA was quite an experienced. With a very limited English, in classroom teachers teach and classmate talk I didn’t know what they were talking about. For years, instead of enjoying life, playing games and having fun like all the kids that were born here in the US. For us, weekends and after school we had to take ESL to improve our English and the rest of the time busy looking up English-Vietnamese dictionary tried to translate my school works so I can (maybe) somewhat understand my school works and text books.
Five years later my younger brother escaped Vietnam and arrived here in AZ he too got adopted into the Myers family.
A few years later my younger sister also tried to escape Vietnam but unfortunately she did not make it to freedom. She lost her life at sea.
My mom and a younger sister still live in Vietnam.
I am very thankful and appreciate what America and American people do for us. America is a heaven on earth and you can make dream come true. You can’t ask for a better place than America.
With the freedom and opportunity you can own or become what ever you want to be. If you work hard for it you can fulfill your dreams. To me American system had been more than fair for me. I am so glad that I live in America.
I don’t believe that America is a selfish country. I felt that some time we got involved into too many things in the world. We sacrificed our people our money to fight for other countries turmoil.
We should put more resources and focus into our country to make America to become stronger, healthier, and safer for our children and grandchildren. We should focus more on better, higher education system and make it more affordable. Strong education equals a stronger country.
I am now married to a beautiful wife and had two beautiful children one boy and one girl. I have a nice house, nice car, and owned my own HVAC business.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!