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Subject: Leper Colony at Qui Hoi


Author:
Bill Bellinger
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Date Posted: 18:55:22 03/17/05 Thu

QL-441 runs from itís intersection at QL-1 and QL-19 to Qui Nhon. It then goes about 5 kilometers further south across a mountain to a beautiful valley by the South China Sea where it ends. This is Qui Hoi, a leper community run by French Catholic Nuns. In the summer of 1966, a friend of mine, Lt. Douglas Crawford and I decided to take sight seeing tour and travel across the mountain and down the coast to Qui Hoi. We had heard about the leper colony there and we were curious. So we took off in a jeep one afternoon, unarmed. Just a couple of dumb-ass Second Lieutenants. QL-441 between Qui Nhon and Qui Hoi is a narrow dirt road. After it leaves Qui Nhon it goes right up a mountain. Right before the summit there is a beautiful vista of Qui Nhon and the surrounding area. You could see for miles up there. A little farther up the mountain there was a U.S. Army Signal relay station. It was completely isolated sitting up on top of that mountain. Itís defensives were formidable, however, with a high chain link fence and multiple rows of concertina wire. Not the kind of place youíd want to try to get into. The whole route was wooded and would have been a prime ambush location. It was also deserted. There was not one single inhabitant along the way nor was there any traffic on this road. I was very nervous and drove as fast as the road would allow. We soon came down the mountain into a valley by the sea. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful locations in Viet Nam. The beach there was pristine. There were about a half a dozen GIs swimming at the beach. We stopped at the leper colony which was not to far from the beach. All the structures at the leper colony are brick or stone. The thing that struck me most was the cleanliness of the place. It was spotless. Quite a contrast to other areas I had seen in and around Qui Nhon. The few people at the colony that we saw were reserved. They would not approach us. There is a beautiful Catholic Chapel at the colony with stained glass windows. It was interesting, because it had no pews. The leper colony at Qui Hoi survived the war intact. It exists today. We were told later that Qui Hoi was probably one of the safest places to be in Viet Nam and that there was little risk of ambush. The VC avoided going anywhere near the leper colony.

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Replies:
Subject Author Date
Re: Leper Colony at Qui HoiSteave Hosier (Glad it survived)02:44:02 03/19/12 Mon


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