Why train Vietnamese students in English? Because English, although not the most commonly spoken language in the world (that honor goes to Mandarin) is nevertheless our era’s lingua franca of business and academia. In most countries it is the primary second language taught in schools and can be understood to some extent by 1/3 of the world’s population. English is crucial for anyone who wants to thrive on the global stage. For the past year REI’s Zonia Go (third from left above) has been investing her life in training both students and instructors of other subjects at the Hung Yen University of Technology and Education.
REI, including its subset, REI-Vietnam, is a non-profit organization. There is an old joke about a businessman who said that his business, too, was a non-profit organization. “Although,” he said wistfully, “it wasn’t intended to be.” In our case, from our origins, our intent has been to give, to share, to train, to exchange, to build, without expectation of payment. But it does take money to do what we do. Where does that money come from?
Over the past twenty years of REI-Vietnam’s history, there have been some significant volunteers who have contributed greatly in the development of the REI’s medical work. From time to time in the coming months, we want to honor these individuals by telling their stories in the REI website News Section. This month it is our privilege to introduce you to a couple who was one of our early volunteers, Dr. Ace and Mrs. Jean Barnes. For eighteen years from its 1994 inception, Asa "Ace" Barnes, pathologist, was as a key leader in growing our medical program. In total, he made two dozen trips to Vietnam and was instrumental in launching new partnerships in both Hanoi and Hue. Additionally, starting in 1998, Ace acted as Co-Team Leader in launching REI's Family Practice program.