Sunday, October 07, 2007

Goodbye, Adrie

This week has ended on a sad note, with the death of one of Blue Dragon's good friends - Adrie van Gelderen.

Adrie has lived in Vietnam for over a decade, as head of the Affiliate Foundation, which works on education projects and once built a school in Hue. When Blue Dragon was still just an idea, Adrie offered for us to work under the auspices of his foundation until we were properly registered. He made that offer to me on the first day that I met him. That's the kind of guy he was.

In the past 2 years, Adrie's dream has been to establish a communal pepper plantation for homeless families in Cambodia.

Last time I saw Adrie, he showed me the plans and some new photos he had taken. But Adrie's health wasn't good, and he knew he might not see the project through. Adrie has been fighting cancer, and I thought he was winning, but I was wrong.

Adrie left Vietnam just a few weeks ago, to go back to Holland for medical care. He died on Thursday night in his cottage in France.

Anyone who knew Adrie must know that he wouldn't want any sentimentality because of his death. Adrie was always too upbeat and alive for that. But we'll miss you, Adrie.

The world is a better place because you were here. I hope you knew that.


Billabong Bill said...

I can only concur with what Michael has said. Adrie van Gelderen was a larger-than-life character in Hanoi, who was and still is my friend. I will miss his company and his vibrant conversation over a coffee, a beer or a red wine. I admired his forthrightness, honesty and generosity. Adrei, you certainly did make a difference. RIP Billabong Bill

Anonymous said...

Adrie is overleden in Nederland en niet in Frankrijk

anita vandenberg said...

Imet Adrie in Hanoi due to a friend in Hong Kong Hubert van Es. He took me on his motor bike to the oldest resteraunt in Hanoi and I was privileged to meet one of his street kids-one of the most memorable nights. Yes he was a great man and will be so missed.He was active in Hong Kong with the boat people and education