It’s been how long? 3 days since we arrived?
“Don’t worry” Ben said, “I’m taking a LONG (and much deserved) break”… (before jumping back into work)
OK, so on our second day, we open the Vietnam News (English newspaper) and find an article that talks about Hanoi’s total unpreparedness in the event of flooding. Why is this in the news? because devastating rains have started to claim victims in the north of the country and there is a serious problem with coastal erosion. A senior official of the government was interviewed and acknowledged the absence of a strategic plan…
So… most of us would read this (if interested) and move on, right?
We go into a hotel, Ben calls the editor of the English daily paper “Viet Nam News”. We go to the newspapers office and meet the editor. Then Ben explains he wants to meet the senior official interviewed in the article, as he wants to discsuss Climate Adaptation and flooding with him.
Fast forward a few hours, a meeting is set up (by the editor) for next Tuesday with the official, to discuss Vietnam’s flooding problem…
Oh, and in addition, the editor asks Ben if he would be interested in writing an Op Ed on Climate Adaptation for the paper.
That took all of 72 hours!
A few hours later and we are in a cafe and Peta starts talking to a charming woman sitting at a table next to her. The woman, whose name is Hien, speaks excellent English, has an MBA from the Hanoi University, specializes in cultural exchange and has just quit her job at the University and is looking for a new one ~ preferably one where she can have impact.
Did not take long for Ben to realize she would be perfect as a translator ~ and potentially as a country manager to help navigate the political, cultural and other challenges we will face to start Climate Adaptation Solution activities in Vietnam.
Hien will start on Tuesday by accompanying Ben as a translator when he meets with the Government official in charge of flooding.