Co-hosted by the Vietnamese Department for Peace-keeping Operations (VNDPKO) and the Military Broadcasting Center, the program connected Hanoi with Bentiu, South Sudan, where the Level-two Field Hospital Rotation 2 (L2FH2) of Vietnam is operating.

Lieutenant Colonel Vo Van Hien (L) and Major Ta Thi Kieu Hoa connected to the exchange from Bentiu, South Sudan

From South Sudan, via video over the Internet, participants at the exchange were moved by the images of the staff of the L2FH2 preparing for the Lunar New Year. Sharing with the audiences from Hanoi, Lieutenant Colonel Vo Van Hien, Director of the L2FH2 of Vietnam in Bentiu, revealed, “Besides professional work, the staff of the L2FH2 are now preparing for the lunar New Year. The preparation aims to create a happy and festive Tet atmosphere for the overseas staff in the hospital. The hospital has planned to make “chung” cakes and decorate the barracks and working areas with handmade artificial apricot and peach blossoms. Especially, the hospital is holding an art performance and exchange program with international friends to introduce them to the Vietnamese New Year festival and the country’s cuisine. Despite hardships, we are sure to have a joyful and unforgettable Tet in South Sudan.”

The hospital’s staff was also touched to hear wishes from leaders, wishing a New Year of success and achievements. Senior Lieutenant General Tran Quang Phuong, Deputy Chief of the General Department of Politics, shared, “I hope you, comrades, would uphold the spirit of Uncle Ho’s soldiers in the new workplace. Your families, friends and people of the whole country are standing by your side to encourage you to fulfill the missions of Uncle Ho’s soldiers in the new year.”

The Vietnamese peacekeepers working away from the Fatherland are always backed up by a firm homefront and with sentiments from their units as well as Vietnam’s policies for peacekeepers. At the exchange program, Major General Hoang Kim Phung, Director of the VNDPKO, shared moving stories about the care of leaders of the Ministry of National Defense for the Vietnamese peacekeeping force.

The special under-3-year-old guest, daughter of First Lieutenant Le Hong Thanh and Captain Le Thi Hong Van, comes to the exchange in the arms of her grandmother.

Then, participants watched a short clip about the family of Captain Cao Thi Thuy Dung, Chief nurse of the L2FH2. The clip showed moving scenes of her husband and her two children taking care of each other while their mother is away on duty in Bentiu. A special guest – the under-3-year-old daughter of First Lieutenant Le Hong Thanh and Captain Le Thi Hong Van, came to the exchange in the arms of her grandmother. The couple are now both working at the L2FH2 in Bentiu. Van said, “the sharing and care of my unit are a great source of encouragement for us to undertake the mission at the L2FH2.”

One of the highlights of the program was the interaction on the stage of the former peace-keepers who used to work at UN peace-keeping missions. They shared their stories while working at UN agencies. Doctor Nguyen Thi Thu Ngan of the L2FH1 retold the story of her work in Bentiu. Lieutenant Colonel Luong Truong Vinh, who has just been admitted to work as an official at the UN headquarters in New York, shared his success in working at UN agencies. Their stories have shown the advancement of the Vietnamese peacekeeping force and affirmed that Vietnam is shouldering responsibilities with the international community for peace. Every peacekeeper of Vietnam has made great efforts, overcome difficulties and challenges, and set aside their personal affairs and peaceful moments to help bring peace to millions of others.

Box: Major General Nguyen Viet Luong, Political Commissar of the Medical University of the Ministry of National Defense, where the L2FH2 was formed and trained, once visited Bentiu, South Sudan. He shared, “Coming to a poor and war-torn nation where ‘guns and ammunition could be found more easily than rice,’ I further treasure the value of the peaceful and stable environment of Vietnam. It is right and wise for us to practice the policy of safeguarding the nation from afar and by peaceful means.”

Translated by Huu Duong