HANOI, Vietnam — Nguyen Thuy Linh, 8,
concentrated on the page in front of her. On it, her teacher had
outlined the numbers 1 through 10 in short dashes, and Linh was
painstakingly tracing over them with the blue marker clutched in her
As she completed each number she said it out loud in Vietnamese. "Bon,"
she announced as she finished the number 4 and starts on five. "Nam."
This is good progress for the young student at the Vietnamese Friendship
Village in Hanoi, Vietnam. When she first arrived a short time ago, she
spoke in noises and grunts instead of words. Now she's learned a few
simple phrases and greetings.
"We're helping her to communicate very slowly," said her teacher, Nguyen
Thi Oanh, speaking through an interpreter. "It's challenging because
she cannot pay attention for long."
Officials at the Vietnam Friendship Village believe Linh's disabilities,
and the disabilities of all the young people they serve, were caused by
Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War, 20 million gallons of the
herbicide were used by the U.S. military to defoliate acres upon of
acres of jungle and destroy crops.
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