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Life of Nev Tickner in Dien Bien Phu

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:50

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While many other expats chose to stay in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, an Australian man chooses to settle down in the mountainous city of Dien Bien Phu. Life of Nev Tickners in Dien Bien Phu has helped him understand the land and people here.

Another day has come to one of the worst battlefields of Dien Bien Phu. The 70-year-old Australian veteran- Nev Tickner is among them. He has been living in the mountainous city since 2009. He came here to see the great historical battlefield, but he fell in love with people her for the first day.  The people here drew him back it. He loves Dien Bien Phu and he loves all local children.  

After 55 days of digging mountains, sleeping in the trenches and suffering the loss of lives, the Vietnamese army and people achieved the glorious victory at Dien Bien Phu. The victory in May 1954 became the global event that surprised the whole world and ended Vietnamese Nation 9-year war of resistance against the French colonialists. 60 years later, there are still many people around the world attracted by the battle of Dien Bien Phu. And Nev is one of them.

Before coming here, Nev read many articles, books and watched documentaries about historical sites here. But then he decided to settle down in Dien Bien Phu and spent his time here on his own research. This is not the first time he comes to Vietnam. In fact, he visited the country in 1967 when he was an artilleryman. When he came, the Dien Bien Phu battle was over. But he heard about that historical event, it was so impressive that he decided to return. In 2009, he came to Vietnam and visited Dien Bien Phu for the first time.   

Once visiting historical sites here, this man understands the significance of the battle for Vietnam and the world. Dien Bien Phu has changed much through the course of 60 years. The old artillery likes rusty cannons, trenches and bunkers of filled with dry leaves and moss. But the atmosphere created decades ago still exists today.  Nev still can feel the character of places every time he visited these sites like A1 hill.

During the trip in Dien Bien Phu city, Nev gives visitors a tour to historical sites scattered around the city.  This is one thing he often does when friends or some visitors ask him about the history of this city. Not only getting the knowledge for himself, Nev hopes that he could start to attract more people to Dien Bien Phu so that the local people can improve their lives with income from tourism.  He often tells people from over the world like China, Australia, Malaysia, and America that this is “must-see” destination in Vietnam if they come to the country. In addition, with his education, knowledge and life experience, he is trying to connect with other people in order to help the poor.

Everyone in the bakery knows about Nev. Once or twice a week, he comes to buy baguette for kids in SOS village and Social Welfare Centre in Dien Bien Phu. SOS village in Dien Bien Phu is the home of 134 disadvantage children in around Dien Bien. All children are excited when they see grandfather Nev visits them. After giving food to the kids, Nev also spends some time playing with them. Despite no common language, Nev becomes a family member of these kids.

Have been 5 years since Nev came to Dien Bien, despite being a foreigner with barely Vietnamese, Nev with his effort to bring joy to disadvantage kids, has become a family members to every single one of them. They all miss this kind hearted foreigner. For Nev, Dien Bien has become his homeland and here he brings joy and hope to children he loves.


Source: VTV4 –

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