The news that Nguyen Xuan Lien sold his house in Hanoi to move to Quang Binh Province to build an eco-cultural village astonished many people. After seeing his construction with our own eyes, we were very interested in learning more about his unique idea as well as his deep knowledge of the local people's life at wartime.
Lien worked as a construction worker and then an accountant. Later he studied to become a physician and came to work in Quang Binh Province during the fierce wartime. During the period of living and working with Quang Binh people Lien was imprinted by unforgettable memories. That was a very difficult wartime but the locals overcame all hardships and sufferings to defeat the destructive war of the US air force. Although Lien returned to Hanoi 20 years ago and continued his medical profession at the Institute of Acupuncture, he still remembers the image of a simple thatched-roofed house in Quang Binh Province, a classroom at wartime, the inter-village trenches as well as the locals' care for him when he got sick. The older he got the more he wanted to do something to imprint his memories. He thought a lot and came to decision that he would buy 10 hectares of land in Quanh area, 10 km away from Dong Hoi Town in Quang Binh Province and build an eco-cultural village. Although not all members of his family nor his friends understood his idea he still realised his wish. He built a Quang Binh village as it was during the US war of destruction.
On a not large area Lien featured a Quang Binh Province brave in its life at wartime. On the ground the local people worked in the fields and joined the fight of the anti-aircraft force. Under the ground there were classrooms, clinics and meeting halls where normal activities took place. The most touching image is a kindergarten with cradles for the babies. Touring this area, visitors have a feeling that nowhere else in the world was there a passionate thirst for life like here. The US wanted to bring the North of Vietnam back to the Stone Age, but the Vietnamese people were determined not to submit so they led a normal life under the US daily bombardment. There are thatch-roofed houses, the same as the houses of Quang Binh people during the war. Each house with earthen walls has a dugout and a trench for the people to escape to when the house was ablaze. It serves as a residence for the family as well as a warehouse of the food and foodstuff of the State. Due to the local people having a high spirit of safeguarding the goods of the State, there are fuel dumps, warehouses of military equipment and food to supply to the soldiers along their operation routes, without any guard station. There are also rough chain bridges and trails through a forest, which reflect the image of Truong Son mountains and forests at wartime.
Visiting Lien's unique works visitors experience different emotions. Those who experienced the war like us were deeply touched and felt a great admiration for the local people, whereas other visitors and Quang Binh children who were born after the war pick up a valuable history lesson.
We were told that in the near future Lien would establish an ecological zone on the remaining seven hectares of land to grow the local trees, such as ironwood, chestnut, aloe wood, etc. Through this zone visitors will not only understand more about a glorious time of Quang Binh people but also enjoy the fresh air of an ecological village on a land full of sunshine.