HOF119: Doumphet Phanthavong

Doumphet Phantavong remembers the difficulties that he and his friends experienced in attempting to swim across the Mekong River to Thailand. They were exhausted and lucky to have been saved by soldiers patrolling the river during the night. Once in Thailand, he was reunited with his family in a refugee camp.

During his stay in the camp, he met and befriended his future wife. His family was offered an opportunity to settle in France, but his future wife had left to go to Canada. He decided not to join his family as he was determined to make a life with his future wife in Canada.

He arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October 1979. He managed to find his future wife who had settled in Vancouver with the assistance of the Mennonite church. She left Vancouver to join him in Winnipeg where they married and established themselves permanently.