In 1981, I was working in Galang Refugee Camp in Indonesia. Mely Bonifacio, the UNHCR Representative invited some of us to sail with her to the Kuku Refugee Camp. We made the 20 hour trip from Tanjung Pinang on the Seasweep which was operated by World Vision.

The Kuku Camp was located in the Indonesian Anambas Islands east of Malaysia. If I remember correctly, there were 2000 Vietnamese refugees in the camp at the time. We took them supplies, and carried 200 people with us back to Galang.

Kuku was both beautiful and brutal. There was ongoing abuse by the Indonesian military, and just a month before our visit a refugee boat had sunk within sight of the camp drowning everyone on board.

We were only on Kuku for several hours, and I took these photos then.

That night on the Seasweep, everyone was invited down into the steamy hold for a "Special Program". There was some guitar music and singing. Then a World Vision representative using a Vietnamese interpreter, spoke to the assembled refugees. He told them that they would never see Vietnam again and described to them how difficult, lonely, isolated, and hopeless their lives in their new countries would be. He explained that their only hope was to accept Jesus as their personal savior. He was greeted by stunned silence. Many people cried, and some of us walked out.

Những hình ảnh trong blog này do ông Gaylord Barr chụp. Ông Gaylord là người thầy khả kính của rất nhiều dân tị nạn. Ông đã rời Mỹ quốc để đến giúp người tị nạn tại Galang từ 1980 đến 1982.
Chú thích tiếng Anh do ông Gaylord viết, được tạm dịch qua tiếng Việt


Saturday, May 30, 2015

A tribute to Gaylord from John Duffy

I received word that Gaylord Barr passed peacefully this morning at home in the company of family and beloved friends. If you knew him, you knew Gaylord as a kind, generous, compassionate, and beautiful soul. When he listened to you, and he was always willing to listen, he made you feel you were the only person in the room, the only possible person on the planet. And his dry wit could leave you laughing so hard your sides hurt.

But those words do not capture Gaylord's passion for justice and his lifelong indignation at injustice. Wherever he lived, in Morocco, Indonesia, the Philippines, Roanoke, he was on the side of the less powerful, the refugees and immigrants. So many loved him, and he loved them back.

I will miss my friend but forever be thankful for the time we shared, and for all he taught me. Horseman, pass by.


  1. Greeting !
    Just Google typing KuKu Indonesia ,and I found you at this link
    I was stay in KuKu somewhere in April 1979 and Galang to Singapore landed in SanJose ,California 1981 January
    not sure if you are teaching English at camp ? there is Lawyer name Thong if I remembered correct
    any how I just wonder if any tour that in future that you going to visit there and opportunity for me to connect to go there
    please advised

    Thanh Dong
    VT258 36th land in Kuku