Hey, culture vultures! Rather than focus on REI-specific teams and activities this month, we are changing the pace to give you a larger view of Vietnamese culture through this month’s special holiday, Tet, or the Lunar New Year. Don’t worry; we’ll be back with news from the REI world next month!
Category – Special Events
The end of 2017 is upon us! A time for reflection and gratitude for what has been accomplished as we continue to build people to build their nation. As we look back, here are some of the highlights of the year that come to mind.
October 4th has seen a number of significant events over the years. In 1927 sculptor Gutzon Borglum began working on Mount Rushmore. In 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. And in 2011, our dear friend and colleague Luong met Tea Talk’s founder Michael Ong for the first time.
Partnerships can come in many forms. There are legally binding partnerships, as defined by contracts. There are partnerships formalized in writing, expressing expectations and agreed-upon goals, as defined by Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). And there are informal partnerships, perhaps best defined as partnerships of friendship. These partnerships of friendship greatly increase the impact of REI as we seek to build people to build nations.
How would you describe REI? An ancient Indian story speaks of six blind men who were brought to an elephant and asked to describe it. Each spoke of the part he touched. To the one who touched the leg, the elephant was like a pillar. To the one who touched the side, it was like a wall, to the one who touched the tusk, it was like a spear, and so forth. How would you describe our work? It may be bigger and more varied than you think! This month we want to give a birds-eye view of the work of Resource Exchange International.
If you follow the news, you already know that President Barack Obama visited Vietnam in May in order to continue strengthening U.S. - Vietnam relations. During a reception on May 24 he gave a speech on that topic to a number of specially invited guests. Among those guests was Madame Lien, our REI Representative in Hanoi.
A new year! A time of celebration, and also a time of reflection and renewal, when people think about the past year, reviewing their direction, recommitting to doing that which is good and right and helpful, and often making resolutions to change, to improve, to make a fresh start. This is a good time for us here at REI to consider what we are doing well, where we can improve—indeed, to consider why we exist at all.
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?