This is one of the many entrances to the Cu Chi tunnels, a network of tunnels lived in by thousands of Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War. These tunnels which are located in the area called Cu Chi, near Ho Chi Minh city, belong to even a larger network of tunnels that spread throughout the country.
As I walked uncomfortably through the tunnels, I was shocked at how the Vietnamese managed to live in such harsh and tight conditions. I could only imagine how dreadful each day must have been not knowing if you would survive yet another bomb thrown by the Americans. The space in the tunnels was extremely small and narrow. There were all kinds of passages and different sections designed for specific purposes. For example, there was a kitchen, an area for delivering babies and treating the ill, and a space for holding group meetings. I was impressed by the Vietnamese’s ability to live and work cooperatively under such stressful conditions. I must admit however, I had very mixed emotions about being in the tunnels. I was extremely curious and excited to see for myself what it was actually like to be inside the tunnels. Yet, the tunnels were a sad reminder that living underground was the only refuge for countless Vietnamese in their own country. As I exited the tunnels, let’s just say I was relieved to see the sunlight and breathe the fresh air.