Salute to the Vietnamese Spartan!

Diep orders rice noodles at our team-blueberry reunion in HCM City, January 2019

January 2019, Blueberry Guy met up with our Super Spartan in Ho Chi Minh City — Diep Tran.  Last summer when USHBC prepared for a site visits by the  Vietnam Ministry for Rural Development(MRD)  — we were in a bind.  Mission impossible: find a Vietnamese speaking translator with a horticultural or entomology background!   Not that easy — there are thousands of Vietnamese exchange students in the USA and most in engineering and business.  Blueberry Guy called Bob Carini in Michigan and he replied that he had a lead on a Vietnamese student in Michigan.  Bob called Dr. Rufus Issacs the blueberry entomology guru at Michigan State University who called his colleague Randy Beaudry in the Horticulture Department who just happened to be the advisor for Diep Tran, who was working on apple post harvest.  The Vietnamese were arriving in a week!  Diep was in the middle of submitting and defending her dissertation and packing up for home.  She dropped everything and added blueberry market access to the list of to do’s.  Task 1.  Plan travel for a group of three Vietnamese scientists.  Diep spent nights on the phone with the Vietnamese side making arrangements.  Vietnamese names are incredibly complicated and contain all sorts of Vietnam-only characters.  One wrong character was a problem.

Diep made it work!

Next, Diep took a crash course from Rufus on blueberries and entomology.   The visitors were the top entomologists and scientists in Vietnam and had a long list of questions to be answered on their journey to assess market access for fresh blueberries.

Diep made it work!

Next, Diep finished her dissertation and hopped a flight to Seattle to meet up with Blueberry Guy who  was meeting up with the Vietnamese delegation.   Blueberry Guy had a great Saturday with the group but they were very relieved when she arrived!

For one week, we toured the Vietnamese delegation from field to packing plants in Washington State and Michigan.   The days were long and Diep accompanied the group for 16 hr. days and continual technical translation.  It was exhausting.

Diep made it work.

At each stop we made progress with systems-approach demonstrations by an all-star team of industry, government and extension expertise.   Diep’s precise translation and good nature made the journey work.  Mission accomplished.

January 2019, Diep is back in Vietnam and an executive at a major international university in Ho Chi Minh City.   She juggles a busy schedule with family,  school, students and extension work.   But in her style–she dropped everything to meet up with Blueberry Guy who visited Vietnam to assist with a the Vietnam-USA Plant protection bilateral meeting.

Diep made it work as always!