For June three dispatches take us first to Vietnam, then China and finally Baghdad, Iraq. Justin Mott met and continues to visit a young blind girl who has multiple disabilities in Friendship Village outside Hanoi. Sean Gallagher received a travel grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting this year to pursue his exploration of social and environmental issues in Asia. In Baghdad again, Chris Hondros has a couple of comic exchanges with his driver and takes a train ride.
In 2007 Justin Mott, who lives in Hanoi, visited a facility for disabled children when beginning to research a multimedia project on the effects of Agent Orange on children three generations removed from the Vietnam War. While it is hard and expensive to prove all the connections through three generations, some of these children have parents who have suffered in their own lives. Nu, the small autistic 14-year-old girl he encountered, is blind, mostly deaf and mute. After being around her and going on walks with her he wanted his photography to help change her life. While she receives good care, Mott hoped that somehow his work could provide her with more attention and some education. Some miracles take a little longer. When he had the chance to publish a short piece about her in East/West, a Vietnamese magazine, he did so and we reprint that article here.
Sean Gallagher has long been interested in social and environmental issues. On receiving the Pulitzer Center travel grant he went to see the ancient, abandoned city of Yinpan, in China's western Xinjiang province, very near one of the world's largest deserts, the Taklamakan. Yinpan was once a flourishing city; it failed when the Silk Road, once a merchants' highway, changed routes and a nearby river started to dry up. Although these events happened about 2,000 year ago, the effects of desertification have continued up to the present day.
Since the fall of the Hussein government and its regulations in Baghdad, new cars have been pouring into the country. Chris Hondros contemplates the problems that have arisen in the city because of the great influx of cars, coupled with the creation of the Green Zone that cuts through formerly major routes crossing the city. He is surprised to learn that a new metro train has started. And, thus begins a good story.