For many, the image of the fictional character Tarzan is known, a man interned in the jungle, who wore rustic clothes to cover his body, lived with all kinds of animals and performed endless acrobatics.
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Something similar experienced Ho Van Lang, who spent four decades in the jungle seeking refuge while in his country the well-known war of Vietnam.
That man died after returning to ‘civilization’. What happened and what is its history?
The war between two sectors of Vietnam (south and north) took place between 1959 and 1975. An estimated 5.7 million victims and about 10 million people were refugees, according to figures from the UN Refugee Agency.
Ho Van Lang did not seek a safe place outside his country; He did it in the deep jungle of Vietnam in 1972, when he was three years old. At that time the United States was deploying a series of bombings and before that his father fled with him.
Lang had a family made up of three other siblings and their parents. According to information from the ‘BBC’ medium, the mother and two of her brothers lost their lives in the middle of the bombs and shots.
The older brother managed to be safe with other relatives and for years tried to follow the trail of his father and the little one.
The ‘primitive’ life
It is known that ‘Tarzan’ lived in a makeshift hut next to his father. It hunted and foraged for fruit from nearby crops to stay alive.
“About five people saw me in the jungle. I would run and hide. People could hurt me ”, the man commented for a later documentary, with evident difficulty in expressing himself and part of his teeth in poor condition.
It was raised alongside the vegetation. He went from being 3 years old to being an adult. He had no notion of time and when they were finally found with their father in 2013, he believed that the war was continuing.
However, the rapprochements with ‘civilization’ began long before. As reported by various media, the older brother investigated all those years until he was warned of the presence of two people in the jungle. He found them and tried in many ways to get them back with him, but they didn’t want to.
Only until August 2013 did his return come true. A group of people who, apparently, were expeditioning through the area saw them in danger and decided to alert the authorities.
Ho Van Lang, now 44, and his father began living in the older brother’s house.
They had to adapt to all the customs that they did not conceive. Retaking the language to communicate with his relatives was one of the efforts, as the father kept some words, but Lang had to learn a lot in order to express himself.
Álvaro Cerezo, Spanish explorer, took up the history of man when in 2017 he premiered the documentary ‘El Tarzan vietnamita’. He took him back to the jungle to show him how he lived and tell him his perceptions of the ‘new path’.
– What is the first impression you had on your first day in civilization? Cerezo asked him.
“I like the feeling of riding in a car,” he replied.
– And, in the city, what impressed you the most? the Spanish questioned him again.
– See that animals are friendly to people. In the jungle, the buffaloes always ran away from me.
– What do you think of the modern world?
“I think it’s noisy,” Lang concluded.
And in this way the conversation continued in which he kept a smile and tried to say something more than simple monosyllables.
According to the documentary maker, ‘Tarzan’ established a friendship with him and it seemed wonderful to share part of his experiences.
“I didn’t like seeing him living in civilization. It always worried me that he and his body couldn’t handle such a drastic change. He had spent his whole life in the jungle and then came to live in the civilized world, where he began to eat processed foods and, sometimes, to drink alcohol “, said Cerezo, quoted by the American newspaper ‘New York Post’.
The man received his citizen ID with an electronic chip in March 2021, as announced by the local media ‘Cogan’.
According to known information, in recent months he lived in Quang Ngai province, Vietnam, in a house that was donated to him. He was dedicated to harvesting rice and bananas. Also, he hunted fish. His father was no longer with him because he died in 2017 from diseases of old age.
He was diagnosed with liver cancer in November 2020. Despite this, he was unable to undergo an operation due to the advancement of his condition. ‘Tarzan’ died, at age 52, on the morning of September 6 of this year at his home.
“He was a small child with the abilities of a superhuman,” concluded the explorer Cerezo upon his death.