Excerpt: Escaping Viet Nam H’Yoanh’s Story: A Memoir of Determination, Defiance and Deliverance by Harriet Hill and H’Yoanh Buonya

About the Book:


A naturalized U.S. citizen, HYoanh Ksor Buonya was a Montagnard refugee from the Central Highlands of Vietnam, near the Jarai village of Cheo Reo. Escaping Viet Nam – H’Yoanh’s Story is a survival saga beyond the imagination. Shortly after childbirth, her mother died, and relatives cared for her until she was four, when they placed her in a Catholic orphanage/school. Education became most important in her life, but in 1975, at the age of 16, she found it necessary to follow other Montagnards into the jungles of the Highlands to escape persecution by the North Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong. From 1975 to her arrival in North Carolina in November 1986, HYoanh faced starvation, danger, death and incredible hardships resulting from the potential capture by Pol Pots genocidal regime. Even though her faith was tested, she believes that angels were with her through the darkest of times.

Read an Excerpt:

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“Chilling Reality”

“Abruptly, gunshots came from the field near the first gate closest to us.  We were stunned and crawled to the opening of the hut, saw no one, and started running toward the campsite. Y-Nguan came in our direction.  “Over here!”  He pointed to a growth of bushes.  “Stay down flat!”

Gunfire went over us. And I put my hands over my head and cried for Ami. I thought that my heart would beat out of my body, which shook uncontrollably. We three were huddled so close that we breathed together.

It stopped as suddenly as it started. Y-Nguan Nie called to us, “Where are you?” We peeped through the bushes and then stood up. “Come over here by the haystack. We have to make plans.” He put his arm around me. “Were you scared?”

There was one long, yes from three terrified small girls.

“The Viet Cong have followed us and now know where our camp is. We must move immediately. I just pray that the other group saw them first and was able to go around them. No one in our camp was injured, but pack your things, make the camp look as unused as possible, and get ready to march.”

Hurried preparations began. Forty bodies scurrying in different directions looked like a disturbed anthill.

We quickly followed the routine and were soon on our way before dark, the last men in the group covering our tracks and hoping that the next rain would finish the job.”

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