Asahi Ximbun: Louisiannan Expat Found2016/09/01
RIUGOÑ, COREA Consai 10, Hatxigaçu 29 (29 August 2016)
An international mystery that has threatened on several occasions to cause a diplomatic incident has, at last, been solved.
This week, in a dusty farmer’s market of Riugoñ Japanese Security Forces successfully identified and spoke with a man very much out of place. With his sandy blonde hair, and his European looks, he was not a match for those that surrounded him. He identified himself to them as Park Min Ho, (박민호 / 朴敏鎬), a local farmer. The security forces asked him to come with them for a few minutes to their station, assuring him he’d done nothing wrong.
There, in that station, Park Min Ho discovered the truth. He hadn’t sprung into existence in the wilds of the Chinas some years ago, but had a rather more typical beginning. When they showed him the family photos of his childhood, he wept, and yet couldn’t say why. Park Min Ho suffers from amnesia. When his wife appeared at the station, he spoke to her in fluent, and nearly unaccented Corean, explaining the situation.
But who was he, you ask? A young Louisiannan man, one David Hiverdun. Nearly 12 years ago, he had served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaching in this very region of Corea the Mormon beliefs. After his two years completed in early Gacudai 1 (2004), he returned from his home in Romain, Omara, Louisianne, to visit those he knew as a missionary, and to travel the Far East.
This, it would seem, was his undoing. He travelled to Canton, and, while warmly received, was ill-prepared to face the reality of travel in the borderlands of Canton. It would seem that some time between his arrival in Canton, and the following two months, he travelled without problem, climbing, hiking, and enjoying the sights the Chinas have to offer. He strayed from his itinerary, however, and disappeared.
This was in Gacudai 1 — and his family, who later moved to Chateaugoutier, Alpes-Rocheuses, had no idea what had become of him. They mounted searches, as best they could given the political upheaval in the southern Chinas. All governments, despite repeated questioning by Louisiannan officials, and intercession by the Japanese, denied young M. Hiverdun’s having ever travelled within their borders. When proof of his travel was presented in the form of photos and railstubs found in a hostel room he’d rented, they claimed that if he were within their sovereign territory, he had likely died in an accident.
The years passed, and the Hiverdun Family refused to give up hopes, even when they were rebuffed, practically chased to the Louisiannan embassies at times, and though they hoped he was alive, they began to give up hope that they’d ever find their son again. In the last year, however, with the coronation King Fùxīng of Hunan, records have been released, and the Hiverdun family were able to pick up the lost trail.
In the recent months they have retraced his steps from his last known stop. David did indeed suffer an accident. With his amnesia, he also lost his maternal tongue, Francien.
Knowing only Corean, kindly Chinese helped him and he managed to make his way out of Hunan, through Nan Han Guo, Bei Han Guo, until he finally arrived, sometime in Consai 1 or 2 (2007), in Corea. Without documentation, he spent a number of years fleeing and avoiding the law, living in mountainous areas and small villages.
In Consai 4 (2010), he finally gathered enough friends and money to get himself a set of papers. He took the name Park Min Ho, (박민호 / 朴敏鎬), married, and settled himself as a local farmer near Riugoñ.
Oddly enough, despite his amnesia, Park Min Ho remains a devout member of the LDS church, and serves as a Sunday School teacher in a local congregation. His wife has recently converted to the LDS faith, and they plan on solemnizing their marriage in the “sealing” sacrament within the soon-to-be completed Riugoñ temple.
“I don’t remember much of my early new life,” Park Min Ho said, “but I do remember knowing that everything would be okay, and that if I did my part, I could make a good life for myself. I’m just happy to know where I came from, and that I have family beyond my lovely wife and children.”