I was introduced to Bui Thi Qua a year ago that my friend Ken had befriended during her during the war in the 70’s. She was a street girl then selling water and cigarettes from a roadside. I met her in 2009 but it was her daughter Peanut I got to know. She had taken over selling on the street corner to make enough money to look after her ailing mother. Things got a bit rough when the police in the name of trying to clean up the streets, confiscated her bed and cooler. For a time she was forced to sleep sitting up in a small lawn chair. In the end she lost out and was forced to abandon her little business. Peanut was able to find a job in a Scuba shop, but it did not last long as the shop went closed due to lack of business. She now is working in a restaurant in the backpack area. I know now she is sad and lonely, but her life will go on. Not having the burden of nursing her mother will free her time and enable her to get on with life. Peanut asked me to attend the funeral and I was honored to do so. It started with a viewing of the body. There was a 2 day drop in
before monks came and performed the funeral ceremony. Pole bearers then carried the coffin to a truck and all of the funeral attendee’s followed the hearse and the hollow booming of the drum to the final resting spot. Another short ceremony was held and at it’s finale, there was a joint shriek of grief and wailing from the people before making their way back to bikes and busses to return home. I feel honored that I was the only foreigner attending. I stood for both my support for Peanut, and for My Friend who was not able to attend for his friend Bui Thi Qua.