Molding lives of Agent Orange victims


Keisha Luce, a 31-year-old student at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and photographer Kirk John Torregressa, learnt about the effects of war through their fathers, who both fought in Vietnam during the 1960s.

The two friends traveled around Ho Chi Minh City, the southern province of Dong Nai and the central city of Danang. Over the previous month they talked with Agent Orange victims and recording their stories.

Luce was preparing for a new sculpture hot spring day in Danang when Tuoi Tre caught up with her.

She began by helping Dang Van Son, a 46-year-old Agent Orange victim, to cut his toenails so she could create a mold of his legs.

Images of Son, whose legs are deformed by the effects of AO, were also captured by Torregressa during the long hours of molding.

“It is unbelievable that the toxic chemical can cause people to be born that way,” Luce said while reviewing her molds.

Agent Orange, the ghost of the past war, still resides with Son’s family. He was born with a birth defect but no one realized it was down to toxins. Agent Orange continued to haunt his life when his first son died three days after being born.

His other two children also suffer from the effects of AO. One child has bone problems and the other is paralyzed from the waist down and has Down syndrome.

But Son’s case is just one among millions of families struggling with health problems related to dioxin exposure.

Problems caused by AO are not new to Luce. Her father was exposed to the chemical in 1969 during his tour in Vietnam. She grew up watching the chemical slowly take its toll on her father until he died when she was 10-years-olds.


Quang Tam - Tuoi Tre Online
(29/06/2009 | 03:08)

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