HOF115: Paspaporn Vong
As a young man, Vong Paspaporn left Laos to pursue his studies in France. He met his future wife during his stay in that country. The couple returned to Laos amidst the social and economic upheaval in their native land. Soon after their return, he and his young wife decided to escape. Their plan was to swim across the Mekong River. The couple practiced swimming prior to their departure in order to develop the endurance to reach the Thai shores. The day of their departure, they built a makeshift raft with banana tree leaves. The raft was unstable, but they managed to reach Thailand.
Once in Thailand, they stayed in a refugee camp and succeeded in obtaining asylum in Canada. The young couple eventually settled in Winnipeg where they continue to live to this day.