A naturalized U.S. citizen, H’Yoanh Ksor Buonya was a Montagnard refugee from the Central Highlands of Vietnam, near the Jarai village of Cheo Reo. Escaping Viet Nam – H’Yoanh’s Story: A Memoir of Determination, Defiance and Deliverance is a survival saga beyond the imagination. Shortly after childbirth, her mother died, and relatives cared for her until she was four, when they placed her in a Catholic orphanage/school. Education became most important in her life, but in 1975, at the age of 16, she found it necessary to follow other Montagnards into the jungles of the Highlands to escape persecution by the North Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong. From 1975 to her arrival in North Carolina in November 1986, H’Yoanh faced starvation, danger, death and incredible hardships resulting from the potential capture by Pol Pot’s genocidal regime. Even though her faith was tested, she believes that angels were with her through the darkest of times.
Her story is riveting. Her survival allows the reader to reflect on the blessings and advantages that are often unappreciated in a free world. The book is a must-read for everyone and will enhance and expand the education of college and high school students. Children as young as 11-years-old are able to grasp the severity of oppression and brutality in another culture.
The Prologue, written by Dr. Surry P. Roberts, CAPT, MC, Fifth Special Forces, relates the history of the Montagnards in Vietnam.
“You [two} have written an impressive, fascinating, very moving book – gripping and suspenseful. You have written a masterpiece – beautiful prose!”
– Betsy King, Historian and Editor ( Raleigh, NC)
“. . . What an inspiring book!! When I hear some Americans talking about their trials and tribulations, I wonder how they would fare under the same circumstances as the Montagnard people faced in their persecution . . .”
-Paul Morsen, 1st Lt., 281st Assault Helicopter Co. in Nha Trang, RVN 1968-1969 (California)
“The story . . . is one of the most amazing and impressive accounts of individual strength and determination that I have ever read. It is so inspiring to read of such individual valor and constant effort against tremendous odds. The book was also very well written by Harriet Hill. When I started the book, I thought there was no way I would finish the long account of H’Yoanh, but I was soon caught up in the exciting story and barely put the book down.”
– William B. Fuller, Sr., Lt., US Navy, 1964-1967, (Wilmington, NC)
“I know you structured it in short chapters so that people could digest it in small doses, but I think it had the added effect of creating a streamlined, simple atmosphere that underlined how elemental their life was. I thought the style matched the story.”
– Vanessa T. Smyth, Ex. Dir. Gooklark Educational Foundation (Dickson, TN)
“One of my favorite images from the book will always be the mushrooms that glow in the dark and help guide the way through the jungle. What a metaphor! Because of H’Yoanh’s Story, I will now, always and forever, have glowing mushrooms to guide me through my darkest hours. They will connect me to the friends in front of me and guide those behind me.”
– C. M. Bonny Harrison, Writer and Editor (Raleigh, NC)
“You . . . have done an admirable job of organizing and conveying a most complex, convoluted narrative of twists and turns, intrigue and disaster at every step and of creating a touching tale of a journey near to my heart.”
– Joyce Neff, FNP (Louisburg, NC)
“This book changed me. It made me even more thankful I can turn on the faucet and have fresh, clean water. It made me sad that some people don’t have the freedom we have. When I read the last page, it made me think I’m the luckiest person on earth.”
– Jackson A. Cheek, Age ten (Raleigh, NC)