Sunday, 18 July 2010

Just Outside of Paris: The Village of Samois

Sometime in the month of May, last year, I had the chance to join a group that was visiting a writer in the village of Samois, outside of Paris, and very near Fontainebleau. As a bonus, we had the chance to observe and take part in the town's celebration of Victory Europe.



In the town square, celebrations for VE Day were scheduled at 11:30...



while in the village, the biggest French garage sale was going on, where some treasures were purchased by my friends.



Soon, we joined the local festivities...those who had perished, fighting during the last World War, were being honored.



Our walking tour of the village commenced as we walked through the narrow, village streets, just enjoying the ambiance of ivy-clad houses, heading towards Laura Lam's house. Laura is a writer - best known for Late Blossom - who has dedicated her life towards helping the village children in Viet Nam.

"Late Blossom is a moving book about how ordinary people cope with extraordinary circumstances, and how a few, in spite of unimaginable horror and constant fear, somehow manage to reach deep within themselves and survive the despair and dark of night to embrace the hope and light of day. In these pages we are taken into a world where personal insecurity, sudden ruin and the real possibility of torture and violent death are as perfunctorily taken for granted as tomorrow's sunrise. We are introduced to a cast of real-life characters caught up in and struggling against the sweeping tides of history. And through the eyes of a most remarkable woman, we come to better understand a most remarkable people and their long fight for freedom. Late Blossom is, quite simply, a beautifully told story of life, loss and love in a war-torn Viet Nam." Amazon.com review.



We passed by this once, public washing area...



where women brought their load of Laundry. What a tedious task that must have been!



This is the ceiling detail.



This house with the wooden beams, reminded us of the oldest Parisian house in the Marais.



Farther down, we read this plaque that was posted on the wall about one of the most famous jazz musicians, Django Reinhardt - whose innovative guitar-playing style has been copied all over the world - who had lived here for 10 years, until his death in 1953.



Our walking tour led us to the Seine River...



where we got a glimpse of these beautiful swans...



and on the other side, the variety of plants and flowers along the different homes we passed.



Farther up, we noticed an emergency vehicle...just right before we entered Laura's house, where she had Vietnamese food waiting for us, before she gave a talk about the Viet Nam Village Children Fund, the charity project she started in 2008.

Laura Lam, an overseas Vietnamese, was born in Luong Tam (Truong An) village. The charity's primary purpose is to provide educational opportunities for the children in rural villages of Hau Giang Province. Through the fund-raising efforts of Laura, the first kindergarten and five bridges were built in Luong Tam in 2009. In 2010 its operations were expanded to assist young victims of Agent Orange. The volunteers at the Viet Nam Village Children Fund are united and dedicated in "serving the needs of young people disadvantaged by poverty, and in many cases by the after-effects of war."



To raise funds, she displayed some of the handmade, quilt works exquisitely made by the village women in Luong Tam.



Mostly, bedspreads were spread out for us to see and admire...



the varied quilted products showcased various quilting techniques such as applique, and trapunto...in different patterns.



After our visit with Laura, we headed back to our bus via another route, an inland pathway. What a quaint little town this turned out to be as the blooms captured our attention, along the way.



wild flowers...



a beautiful gated house and garden...





lilac blooms...



a blooming fruit tree...and a plant with clusters of tiny flowers...



a country house with a well-kept garden...





wisteria vines with light purple flowers...



pom-pom like white flowers...



the village church...



a restaurant...



more adorable, lovely, snow-white cascade of small flowers...



We reached just about the end of our walk! I hope you had a lovely time - I did!

If you would like more information on the Viet Nam Children Fund or would like to support it, please visit http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.vvcf.co.uk/village_children_fund/res/bio/laura.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.vvcf.co.uk/village_children_fund/organization_en.php&h=379&w=246&sz=126&tbnid=9KmpLU5MPdsvEM:&tbnh=123&tbnw=80&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlaura%2Blam&usg=__XRxlWU2qgGxwQDO7CVarBFQLA48=&sa=X&ei=D7dCTPG5K4OB8gaD_amUCQ&ved=0CCkQ9QEwAw

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