Cu Chi tunnels – a family story

“Of course she’s coming down the tunnel. Sparky goes everywhere we go”  I kind of enjoyed saying that to the men in uniforms. (They didn’t have guns or anything)   Of course, sometimes, Sparky doesn’t come with us. But we aspire to it, we gear up for it, and we really celebrate when we can make it work.  A nice Australian lady with dickie knees stayed above ground to mind the wheelchair for us, and down we went…

She loved it!!  Crawling around in tunnels dug by the Viet Cong over 40 years ago was a great way to learn history and get dirty at the same time.  Despire being a highly marketed tourist trip, it really is a great activity for children. In fact, they are telling this story:

Meena writes: Today we went to the Cu Chi tunnels, near Ho Chi Min City.  I had a torch so I shone it in the tunnel as we crawled through. We also saw how the Viet Cong made bombs. The Viet Cong lived in tunnels, 2000 of them for 9 years to hide from the Americans.  We watched a video about Viet Cong fighting America, There were 2 girls fighting the Americans, one of them said “where ever the men go, I will go too.” That’s why  she ended up fighting in the war.

The day before, we watched a documentary. There was a university and a company called DOW wanted the students to come and work with them making explosive stuff called Napalm. The students said no, because they saw on TV what Napalm did to all the Vietnamese. It burnt their skin, they didn’t just get burnt, some of them died. So they students said we are not going to work for DOW. The army thought it should go and fight the Viet Cong, but many many other Americans thought they shouldn’t.   Why does America want to go in and make peace?  I think that the Viet Cong shouldn’t have gone and tried to conquer Vietnam, they could have just stayed as two parts. Or the president of the Viet Cong should have gone to the president of South Vietnam so they could just have a talk about it. There shouldn’t have been any violence as it causes trouble confusion and death.

 

Sparky tells:  In my opinion the Cu Chi tunnels were amazing, exiting, interesting and not noisy.  I crawled through on Daddy’s back.

That is Sparky’s sense of humour to a tee!  It was actually VERY noisy. She will insist the sky is green til she laughs so hard that tears run down her cheeks.  Why was it noisy? Well, somewhat distastefully, at a place where thousands were wounded and killed, you can pay $5 to shoot a round of ammunition with an AK47.  Snowy wrote about it:

Snowy  writes: We heard lots of gunshots because there were heaps of people who tried to shoot the whole bush and set it on fire so the other people lived underground in tunnels.  The gunshot was people having turns of the guns, not the actual fighting.  We saw a tank.  We all had a turn at going down into the ground because they all lived under the ground.  We ate an icecream and a type of thing that tasted like a potato, which is what the Viet Cong lived on.

 

Tintin writes: We went through a lot of tunnels. The most annoying part was hearing all the gunshots. I felt really sad that they all decided to fight together and I thought it was clever how the Viet Cong dug tunnels right down into the ground 30 feet deep. The Viet Cong knew lots and lots more ways to get through the jungle and to hide because they grew up in the jungle.

The Americans dropped really bad bombs on Vietnam and they were made of Napalm.  I don’t understand about the war. 

I know there are people in Australia from Vietnam, they fled in a boat.

It was a dripping hot, loud, sad, day. About 70% of Vietnamese alive today were born after the war. But everywhere we go, we see the mark it left behind, in small ways and large ones:

 

We feel very privileged to be seeing, touching and learning history as a family.


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2 Responses to Cu Chi tunnels – a family story

  1. Jen Tasker June 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Its great to read this post and see ALL the kids exploring the tunnels. I had a really hard time visiting Vietnam (in 1997). As an American, I was expecting to be viewed with animosity and contempt (and I wouldn’t have blamed them!). But was surprised to be treated with joy and acceptance, or perhaps it was my dollars that were… at any rate, I didn’t feel worthy of that. I also visited the tunnels, but tend to get claustrophobia, so didn’t make it very far through; what a life, though! The war museum in HCM City was interesting (not sure if you’ve been there yet or not) – obviously from a very Vietnamese perspective, which made for an uncomfortable visit for us, but incredible nonetheless.

    If you get a chance to go on a trip along the Mekong Delta its really great. And the Cao Dai temple is something else – talk about a rather different religion (one of the inspirations for the religion is Victor Hugo!).

    Stay safe, as always!

  2. Lisa Wood June 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    What a great way to learn about history – by crawling through it, getting dirty and then listening to a documentary on the history (the day before!).

    I like how each child has written down what they thoughts/saw when they went othe Cu Chi Tunnels.. Do your children have books for writing, or do you use computers?

    Cheers
    Lisa
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Monday Featured Travel Blogger :: YTravel BlogMy Profile

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