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Photographer's Note

Dedicated to Sookjai, a fellow Loatian, who is from the same town I came from. He is now living in Boston, MA. Below is what he wrote and some of my response You don’t have to read them all unless you are interested.

This is the story he wrote to me:
“Waylim, Thanks so much for sharing the pictures as well as your past on TrekEarth. Like you, I am originally from Savannakhet and currently living in the US. Your pictures brought back a lot of old memories, good and bad. And my favorite has to be “A River of My Past” Back in the late 70's, as a 17 year-old boy, I swam across the Mekong river alone, approximately a half mile down from where this picture is taken, to escape over to Thailand . This particular image of yours not only brought tears to my eyes, but it also brought a chill to my spine as I closed my eyes and thinking about that fearful night. I could have been shot and killed without a trace and my family would never know that I have gone missing or where to look for me. I considered myself a very lucky person that I am not one of those dead bodies floating down the river as you described it.

…I went back to Laos many times, on average about once a year, since I have been here. My first trip back to Laos was in 1995 and I won’t be able to described in words for you how emotional I was as the tears of joy falling down my cheeks after setting foot on the ground in front of my aunt’s house in Seno. Seeing my 5 younger brothers, I am the elder of the six boys, and relatives for the first time after 16 years is like reaching the heaven except that I am not dead yet.

Anyway, fast forward over to today. A few years ago, my mom went back to Laos, who came to visit me in the US since 1994 and living with me ever since, went back and built a house in Seno a few hundred meters from the main bus station. I now considered Seno, your hometown, as mine hometown as well, since our family have moved there permanently.

To be continued..."

My response to him:
Sabaidee Sookjai,
I’m so sorry it took so long for me to reply to your message and thank you so much for your share story and pouring out your emotion. I know what you mean to be walking on the same little street where we grew up. I sometimes wish I’m a better writer, so I can write a book to tell my story, which is also your story and many others. As time passed, people forget what we have been through, even we ourselves forget after such a long time. Until I returned home, all those emotion come rushing through like this river in the monsoon season, flowing through my heart, my soul and as tears out of my eyes.

Way

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Additional Photos by Way Lim (Waylim) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2735 W: 157 N: 6117] (25162)
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