Thoa van Seventer was 17 when American troops pulled out of Vietnam in April 1975. It was a time of confusion as she studied for her French Baccalaureat exam (the Bac) despite the thundering sounds of war. As up to a third of her classmates left the country in the days leading up to the American departure, Thoa remained optimistic about passing this important exam with flying colors and continuing her studies in France the following year. Life had other plans and she remained in Saigon under VietCong rule for the next ten years. The former French Ambassador to Vietnam sponsored her and her family for French residency and it wasn't until December 1985 that she, along with her mother and sisters, landed in Paris to begin a new life with few belongings of their own. The picture above was taken at the Bois de Boulogne a few days after her arrival in Paris, wearing clothes donated by French families: a pair of wool trousers, a cashmere sweater, a fur coat, leather belt, wool scarf and a pair of leather boots. It was one of many acts of kindness that France extended to families like Thoa's, helping them to start a new life in a foreign country. Thoa met her husband in California in 1995 and now lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two children.
Menu (Vegetarian and vegan options available for all items):
Crab and Asparagus soup
Trang's Banh Mi (chicken or pork)
Shrimp Spring Rolls
To drink: sparkling water and Tesseire fruit syrup for make-your-own sodas. Coffee and tea. Alcohol is BYO.
All proceeds from this lunch will be donated to the International Rescue Committee (www.rescue.org), an organization focused on the rescue and resettlement of refugees worldwide.
The lunch will take place a private home in Palo Alto, CA. An address and other details about the venue will be provided with your event registration.