Than Nguyen escaped Vietnam as a 15 year old refugee in 1983. His journey and that of others is recorded here.
Than Nguyen: Well, it was the first time that I left my family and, I left my family early in the morning and we went down south. It was quite an adventure for me because I'd never been that far from my family. We went all the way down to Khmer, which was the bottom part of the country. We hid in the jungle for about two weeks. And Khmer was a place notorious for mosquitoes and I got bitten by mosquitoes so badly that I ended up with malaria when I came to Australia. And, we hid in the jungle and then we got out at night on a little boat. It was just like in a movie and we had to go really quietly.
Diane Giese: When you say we, who was with you?
Than Nguyen: I, with different strangers. But, there were ..
Diane Giese: You were alone from your family?
Than Nguyen: I was alone from my family. I was accompanied by two relatives whom I did not know very well at that time.
Diane Giese: Cousins, uncles .. ?
Than Nguyen: Cousins, yes. Whom I did not know very well at the time. We were put on separate boats. So, I ended up with three other strangers not knowing where I was. And they put us in the jungle for a couple of days and we just stayed in there for couple of days not knowing what was going to happen.