An 18-year old Ukrainian girl was miraculously reunited with her Vietnamese father on Christmas Eve thanks to a musical show organized by Thanh Nien.
Lilia said she had lost contact with her Vietnamese father at the age of four. Since then, she has sung the Vietnamese childhood song her father taught her about a duck stretching her wings.
The song has served as her only link to him for years.
Her father Nguyen Manh Tien, of Bac Ninh province, said he'd only gotten sparse news of his two daughters--Lilia and her younger sister--from friends living in Ukraine.
Tien, 50, first went to Ukraine in 1983 to study. After graduating he married a local woman and they had two daughters.
Tien left the country for Vietnam 14 years ago and hasn't seen his Ukrainian family since.
He recently asked his friends to help him connect with his eldest daughter via telephone.
The 18-year old student worked hard to earn a spot on a Ukrainian dance troupe that had been invited to Hanoi to perform in Thanh Nien’s musical review, Khat vong tre (Youth Aspiration).
At around 10AM on Tuesday, when Lilia and the rest of the troupe landed at Noi Bai Airport, she learned her father had been waiting for her in front of her hotel for two hours.
When they were reunited at noon, they both burst into tears.
Ta Quang Hung, a Vietnamese choreographer, agreed to serve as their interpreter, since Lilia cannot speak Vietnamese.
“I have never been to Vietnam,” Lilia told Thanh Nien. “All I knew of the place are the stories daddy told about this country, and I've been dreaming of coming here ever since.”
Tien said he was eager to see his daughter perform at the Viet Xo Friendship Cultural Palace, on Sunday.