When his two worlds unexpectedly collided last February, Hoc Lam was visiting Chau Doc, the river town in south Vietnam where he was raised. An impish 49-year-old with kind eyes and a firecracker laugh, Hoc had fled Chau Doc and his native country in 1979. That was a hellish time, he recalls, a time when so many bodies floated down the Mekong River from nearby Cambodia that Hoc and his fellow villagers couldn't even drink the water anymore. Just as bad, they couldn't get the visions of the dead out of their heads. Like a lot of his countrymen, Hoc decided to run for it. He hiked through the rugged jungle to the coastline, then boarded a small boat which ferried him across the pirate-infested South China Sea before finally washing up at a refugee camp in the Philippines. After six months in the camp, Hoc found his way to Minnesota. But when he returned to Chau Doc for three weeks last winter, Minnesota was the last... More >>>