Letters From Nam

Letters From Nam

Sunday 26 June 2005

Hi Everyone.

Well the big push is over. We had 20 AmerAsian families interviewed last week. Ten of them were approved and coming to America in the next 2 months. It was a real emotional roller coaster for me. I was so happy for the 10 and so sad for the other 10. The 10 that didn’t get a yes were told to go home and wait for a letter. We are not sure what that letter will say, so we will have to wait also. All of these had been disapproved 1 to 3 or 4 times before. The ones approved can’t believe they got approved and can’t believe it took such a short time. All of the women came and hugged me and kissed me and several of the men did also. All of the children came running with smiles and hugs. All of the hard work was well worth it. Ten family’s lives are changed forever. I believe it will be very difficult for most of the AmerAsians, as most of them are uneducated. The children are the ones that will receive the most by coming to America and get a good education. In the Vietnamese culture the children take care of the parents, so the adults will be OK in the future. For the adults it will take at least a year to get adjusted but for the children I think it will only take a couple of months.

On last Thursday we had an extra 30 people staying at my house. A lot of the AmerAsians had to come long distances and then be at the Consulate at 8 AM. The police came and checked everyone’s ID Cards and wanted to know what I was doing. They spent about an hour here but everything is OK, just have to go pay the police money for the privilege of having someone stay at your house.

Some of the AmerAsians are having trouble with getting passports. Immigration knows they are approved to go to America and they want lots of money to give them the passport. It is terrible the way things are done here. AmerAsians are victims again.

We had 25 families we were working with. 10 of them approved but we still have things to help them with until they go to America. The other 10 we will see what we can do. 5 still need to get an interview. When we are done with these 25 we will start on another 10 at a time.

The website is being worked on so it won’t be to long. I will have stories and pictures on all of the AmerAsians we are working with. If any of you know of a church or organization that would sponsor a family in America, let me know. About half of them are Catholic and half Buddhist. They will be coming to America in 6 to 8 weeks.

We are going to slow down here for awhile and get some rest. Over the last six weeks we put in many 16 hour days and some even 20 hours. Chau and I are both exhausted. I will keep you update on new things happening. Thanks for everyone’s prayers and I will talk to you later.


Jon Tinquist

VVA Chapter 352
AAHOPE Foundation

February 26, 2004

Hello Everyone,

A lot has happened since I last emailed. I am enjoying the house very much. I have a housekeeper, Ngan, and my assistant Bao Chau, that are living here also. It is sure nice to have other people around. They are both excellent cooks and fix way to much food for me to eat. Several of the AmerAsians stop in to visit quite often, which I also like.

I still have not gotten the appointment with the Peoples Committee, so we have decided to proceed anyway.

Clint Haines, from Medford Oregon, was here for a couple of weeks and just left on Tuesday. He has the AmerAsian Child find Network, where he helps fathers locate their children. I went on a trip with him for 8 days trying to locate AmerAsians, and also returned to the area he was in during the war. We found his daughter and that was pretty exciting. We have the children looking for their fathers, so it is good we are working together. He has found 4 fathers for us so far in the last 2 months. Two of them have already died, but he is still looking for family members. If we do nothing more, we have been successful, but we are just getting started.

I have agreed to start teaching English at two different schools on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Two hours in the evening, on Friday And Saturday, at a center in Bien Hoa and four hours Saturday morning, and 4 hours Sunday afternoon and evening at a center in Binh Duong. I will do this until we get so busy I can't work it into the schedule anymore. If they have a foreigner at the school they get many more students to attend the center.

Last night I went to Bien Hoa to visit some friends and I ended up teaching in two different classes. After class 6 of us teachers went out to get dinner. They were telling me they had found a new restaurant that serves the best beef ever. They were right, it is the best I have eaten in Vietnam and was better than a lot I have eaten in the States. The owner put us in a private room and joined us after we got our food. She is a former student of one of the teachers. She sat next to me and I kept looking at her and thinking how light her skin was and how different her facial features were. She spoke a little English and asked me where I was from. Later she says that her father is an American. She is an AmerAsian and talking with her she has four other friends that are AmerAsian. Bao Chau and I are going to meet with them all on Monday. You just never know where you will find them. Her name is Diep and she says her father is dead.

On our trip up North we were troubled by the police. They would call the hotel and ask what we were doing, where we were going, what time are we leaving, and what road we were going on. They even followed us to an AmerAsians house. They followed us around town and took pictures. They told the hotels that they thought I was with the CIA and they wanted all of the information they could get on me. When I was having trouble getting my new visa, that is the reason they gave, I am CIA. It is law here that a hotel has to call to the police whenever they have a foreigner staying there. They must have me flagged in the computer as CIA and are keeping a close watch on what I am doing.The area where they were giving us trouble was an area where they are having trouble with the Monteguards (minority, or native people, and pronounced Mountain Yard). It seems foreigners have been ensighting them to peaceful demonstrations and the government doesn't like it. You probably know them by the name of Mongs, which there is a large group in Minnesota. They supported the Americans during the war and still do. The Vietnamese have taking their land and forced them to areas where it is difficult to survive.

On Friday I will be in Saigon most of the day. My friend Viet, who is the rock star here, is having an interview by a television station and they want to interview me also. Why, I don't have any idea.

I probably forgot to tell you a lot of things, but that is basically what has been happening I am enjoying it here very much, but miss Pearl and the rest of the family Looking forward to April when I will be home for awhile

Talk to you all again soon.


Jon Tinquist

January 8, 2004

Hi Everyone,

It has been a little longer than 2 weeks but here we go again. A lot has happened and I have been very busy.

On Christmas Eve I dressed up as Santa and went through my friends neighborhood and passed out 400 bags of goodies. It cost me about $35 and was pretty cheap to see the joy it brought to a lot of children.

We took lots of pictures also. Most of the people in this neighborhood are Catholic, so everyone went to
church also. They decorate artificial trees, put up lights, have a nice meal, and give a few cards. They
do not exchange gifts however.

I gave my assistant, Bao Chau, a Christmas bonus and she didn't know what that was for. I told her this is one thing we do in America. I gave her about $35, which isn't much to us but that is some peoples whole months wages.

I finally got my license to do charity/humanitarian work here in Vietnam. I still don't have a partner and they say I can't do anything until I do. I did take the license to an attorney and asked him what I could do and what I could not do. He says a license like I have is very unusual and very few ever given. He tells me I do not have to have a partner. He says all the partner wants is bribe money. He advised me to find a house to rent as soon as I can and get the office set up. My license says I have to open the office in Saigon, but I can work all over Vietnam.

I still have not got a new visa and the old one ran out on 1-6-2004, so I am in the country illegally.

They tell me no problem, but I still do not like it. I started working on this over two weeks ago and everytime I do what they say then they say something different. The last I heard, Immigration thought I was CIA and did not want to do a new visa. They told me to go back to my hotel and not to do any traveling until I have new visa. They have my passport also. They just called and said I should have it on the 16th. I will not believe it until I have it in my hand. When you go someplace and rent a hotel you have to give them your passport until you check out of the hotel. They really keep track of people. Again we are very fortunate to live where we do and have the freedom that we do. I know sometimes we do not agree with what our government does, but I believe America is the best place in the world to live. All you need to do is live in a third world country for awhile and you will know that also.

I continue to meet many new people all of the time, and of course they want to monopolize my time. I have
such a hard time saying no, so I am always busy. I am doing an experiment with Hooked on Phonics by trying to teach someone with no English at all. I want to see how effective it is this way.

I hope this finds everyone fine. I will talk to you all again later.

Love JON

Jon Tinquist

Hello Everyone,

I am going to try this again. I spent an hour typing one the other night and I lost it all before I got it

I am currently living in Bien Hoa and traveling to Saigon for meeting when I have to . I have decided
not to live in Saigon. To dangerous with traffic. Very noisey and pollution not the best. I was going
to locate in Bien Hoa since that is where most of my friends live, but I am allergic to the water here.
There was a large Agent Orange spill here and it got into the underground water and it just makes me sick. I have decided to locate my office in Vung Tau, which is on the ocean and a beautiful place. I have a
meeting on Monday to arrange locating there.

I am still having trouble getting my license to operate over here. The meeting I had last Wednesday,
they told me I could not be project manager, they would pick my staff, and they would control the money.

I said it will never happen. I told them people in America will not send money unless I have control of
it. This is the game they play, they try to geteverything they want, and I am not going to let it happen.

I have been meeting several new AmerAsians. They have heard about me and are coming from long distances to see if I can help. I met with the American Consulate the other day and they told me they are not processing any applications until new guidelines come from Congress. That could take weeks or months. They have 1200 backlog cases sitting on the desks waiting for new guidelines. We have decided to concentrate on helping the AmerAsians in getting into a Vocational School so they can be trained in a good job. We will also make sure their children are in school and get a good education. We can also help them with housing if necessary. It is going to be 1 year to 3 years before we can get anyone immigrated, so we are going to improve the quality of their life here in Vietnam.

They may never be able to come to America.

It is good to get back here and see all of my friends, and of course I meet new people every week. One
company that I am helping with English has invited me to go to Vung Tau to the beach for the day on Sunday. Most of the employees speak a little english so it makes it more fun. Very frustrating trying to
communicate when they don�t speak English and I don't speak Vietnamese. The only problem with meeting new people all of the time they want you to go with them for coffee or something and there just isn't enough time.

The weather here is very nice and has only rained 3 times since I have been here. The temperature is 73
to 88 degrees. A lot different than in Minnesota.

Most of my injuries have healed up. I am still having trouble with one rib and my shoulder. My leg is still
numb and that may take a long time if every . Theaccident really made some changes in me. I am very
thankful to be alive. I wake up and say this is the first day of the rest of my life, and I am going to make it the best day I can. It sure works. I feel I am more confident, compassionate, determined and just happy than I was before. Living over here makes you realize how fortunate we are to live in the USA.

I am very busy over here. If it isn't work I am invited to go someplace. In a couple of hours I am attending a going away party for the daughter of a friend. She got married to an American several months ago and is finally going to America. I miss everyone back there, but keeping busy doesn't let me get lonely. I have found a way to call on the computer and talk to someone in the states on the telephone. That sure makes a difference to hear Pearl's voice. I know she is so busy with her job, her business, and
doing things for the Foundation I don't know when she sleeps. Between her and my assistant here I wouldn't get anything done without them, especially Pearl..

I hope this finds everyone Ok. I will try and do this every couple of weeks. Talk to you later.


Jon Tinquist

February 22, 2003

Hello Everyone:

Lots of things have been happening in the last couple of weeks. We continue to jump through the hoops in pursuit of the license. It seems every time we bring a document to them they want it changed, and we have to do it over, along with having it translated into Vietnamese. I think it is their way of saying, I am in control here and not you. Whatever it takes we are prepared to do it.

The Consulate General from the Netherlands called Gil (another vet that has been working with the Amerasains for 2 years) and said, Do you remember the last time we talked you told me about the Amerasians. He went and talked to the Ambassador, then he contacted his government which formed an action council through one of their universities. He called to see if we could work together and that they wanted to send a delegation to Vietnam to meet with us and decide how we can work together to help the Amerasians. They also have funding to do this.

Yesterday I had lunch with Libby Schwartz, a licensed counselor, and she offered her services free to any of the Amerasians we felt needed some counseling. She also offered her services to any returning Vietnam Veteran coming to visit Vietnam. She also belongs to an International Woman's Group, whose members are mostly Ambassador�s wives, and she is going to approach them to see if they will assist us.

I had coffee with a Vietnam Vet from Michigan the other day and he has two recording studios and has offered to help us. I also met 2 or 3 more Vietnam Vets living here that want to join and help us. Like I said before, it just never seems to end. I keep meeting people that want to help, and now I just have to coordinate everything.

Pearl said, Expect Miracals and Miricals will happen. She shure is correct there. I have been in training all of my life for this job, and I finally feel like I am doing something worthwhile and productive. You can�t believe the feeling I get when I look into the eyes of these Amerasians and the hope that I bring them by just giving them a big hug and being their friend.

I hope next week we will be meeting with an organization that will be our Vietnamese partner. It is an agency like our Child Welfare and Protection. It is an agency that is country wide, which is what we wanted so we don�t have to get a new license everytime e go to a new location. Once we get our license we will be looking for land to build the training center. We will also continue to build our website and asking for donations. A lot of work to be done.

I did go to the beach last weekend. We rented a bus and 46 of us went for two days. We had lots of fun. I had some interesting things happen to me also. Everywhere I go people say Hello, where are you from. They want to practice their English with me. Two of the groups camped next to us turned out to be Viet Cong (Enemy during the war) and they invited me to sit down and have something to eat and drink with them. I have done this so many times now that it doesn�t even bother me anymore. They were men doing a job just like I was. I always tell them that I am glad we can be friends now. Most of them give me their names and addresses and ask me to come to their home and have a meal with their families. I have only done that a couple of times and with someone I know. Pearl has even been in two homes of former VC.

I have a house keeper now and that sure is nice. She just brought up some watermellon for me. The fruit here is great, but I have been teaching her how to fix food I like and the way I like it.

Tonight I am going to a concert that one of my former students is putting on. He is fast becoming a big star in Vietnam. He has been featured by MTV Asia, and will be traveling to Japan to perform this spring.

I guess I will call it quits for now and do this again in a couple of weeks. I hope this finds you all OK. Thanks for the return emails, as it is one way to stay connected back there, just like it was in 1968. We called it hearing from the real world, or a letter from across the big pond (Pacific Ocean). Talk to you later. I have also attached a picture of two Ameraisans that were rejected immigration because they look Vietnames and not half America



March 10, 2003

Hello Everyone,

Well it is over 2 weeks since I last sent an email. Time seems to go so fast. I am keeping pretty busy, but not always with work. I have been doing some fun things also. Next Sunday morning I will go to a school to present awards to students that are excelling in English. In the afternoon I will leave on the train to go up to Quang Tri Province. This is where another veterans group I belong to, has built two schools. I want to see them and take some pictures to bring back for the guys to see. I will also be visiting the city Hue, and DaNang. Two of my Vietnamese friends will be traveling with me to keep me out of trouble and interpret for me. I will be gone for about 1 week.

I continue to meet people every week that are interested in what we are doing and want to help however they can.

This last week we met with the Committee of Population, Family and Children. They have agreed to become our Vietnamese Partner in this project. I have to do some more paperwork, basically put things in more detail for them. Then when we both agree on everything it will be sent to Hanoi for approval, and then the license. I also met with the Webmaster and we are still working on that. We cannot start the website up until we have the license, so hopefully everything will come together all at the same time.

I have made a couple of trips to Bien Hoa this last week to visit friends. I met an American from Houston, Texas and he is very interested in our project. I also stop in and see an AmerAsian family there. She has adopted Pearl and I as her father and mother. She wants me to say hi to all of her family and friends in America. She has no idea how big that family is. Her name is Hong, and she and her husband and 4 other friends are starting to learn English this week. I have attached a picture of her family at the beach. She never new her mother as she died at childbirth or when she was very young, and of course she never new her American father. She is 34 years old and a very delightful person. From the picture you can see she has two beautiful children.

If anyone wants to email her, this is her email address


Just keep it simple as she is just learning English and has to have it translated.

From the weather reports I hear, you can keep the cold weather. It has been in the 80's and 90's here. It is still in the dry season so the humidity isn't to bad right now. "The rainy season will start in about 3 months.

I miss everyone there but I am quite busy and enjoying my time here doing something that has to be done. These AmerAsians are American citizens and need the opportunity to immigrate to America if they want to. We hope to find the fathers of some of them also.

Keep those emails coming, I really enjoy them and keeps me connected with you when I am so far away.

Talk to you later.

Love you all.