In 1975, Ha was studying to be a lawyer when the Viet Nam War ended and Saigon fell to the Communists.
Because Ha’s father was a rich merchant, the Communists put them in a concentration camp. He bought their way out of the camp, giving up most of what they owned for their freedom. He felt that she must escape from Viet Nam to have a decent life. He couldn’t go with her but wanted someone to care for her, deciding a husband was best.
Arranged marriages are not the norm in Viet Nam, but at the age of 20, Ha married a stranger 10 years her senior.
Escape arrangements took 3 years.
In August 1978, at midnight an unknown man lead them to a boat. Ha and her husband took only what they could carry, which now included their 2 little sons.
One month earlier, going to the hospital to have her second son, Ha was thrown from a pedicab and broke her ankle. Midwives delivered her baby; nobody set her ankle, the doctors were all in concentration camps.
They had passage on a horrendously overcrowded fishing boat. 1 ½ days at sea, the engine died and they drifted for a day. A passing ship rescued them, bringing them to a refugee camp in Malaysia.
Ha lost consciousness on the boat. Nursing her month-old son, she became severely dehydrated and almost died, taking several weeks to recover.
Ha’s family shared a tent with 3 other families, separated by curtains, with 6’ of living space each.
After 15 months Ha’s family was sponsored to come to the United States, with $20.00 and no English.
They settled in Illinois. Ha’s husband worked 2 jobs while she went to school, learning English and earning her B.S. in Economics. She traveled 150 miles round trip daily, and spent 3 times as much time studying as native speakers. They also had 2 daughters.
Her family became citizens in 1987, after graduation, Ha worked for several large companies.
To give her children access to a good education, Ha moved her family to Massachusetts. She worked 2 jobs sending her children to college, all graduated successfully.
Ha left corporate America after a successful, high-paying career to become a business coach and inspirational speaker.
Ha is someone who has indeed left her comfort zone and defied convention to achieve her goals and pursue her dreams.
Spiritual Herbalist, Educator, Inspirational Speaker