Labourer grows her way out of poverty

Published: 27/09/2008 05:00



VietNamNet Bridge - “That day in 1984 when it came time to pay my debt was one of the most dreadful of my life,” remembers Do Thi Vung in Tan Chau Village, Khoai Chau District, Hung Yen Province.

VietNamNet Bridge - “That day in 1984 when it came time to pay my debt was one of the most dreadful of my life,” remembers Do Thi Vung in Tan Chau Village, Khoai Chau District, Hung Yen Province.

“The loan shark sent his goons to my house. They smashed my door in, and took everything of value they could lay their hands on, cursing me all the while. I held my children in my arms and cried,” Vung, 54, says, recalling those hard days of debt.

An acquaintance asked her for the use of her name in taking

Gardening and livestock breeding earn Do Thi Vung up to VND700 million a year. She went through many difficulties and hardships to get to this point.

out a VND10 million loan (worth hundreds of millions today). Unfortunately, the acquaintance could not repay the money and the interest accumulated each day.

The loan shark attempted to cajole her into selling her land to pay off the debt. But the land was her husband’s inheritance, holding the altar of his family’s ancestors and Vung would rather die than sell it.

Vung returned to her job carrying rocks but she had to labour much harder this time in an effort to earn enough to pay the debt; her older children even had to drop out of school and find work.

Watching her children’s future being ruined, her heart broke. Every night she told them, “because of my faith in people, I have put you in misery. I will work myself to the bone to get us out of this. I just want you all to grow up well.”

Vung had had a very hard childhood, born as she was into a big family. “I was the seventh daughter of a family of 11. The family was too big to feed everyone properly.” Her parents cut grass to feed cows and netted fish.

Seeing how smart she was, a rich local man asked her to marry him, but her father refused. He thought his daughter should marry a man who was also poor so that he would not look down on her. Soon after, Hoang Van Luong became her husband.

She first worked as a maid in a kindergarten but, as the job did not earn her enough for her family, she had to take extra work. She carried rocks and soil by the riverbank during lunchtime, hoping to “mend” her family life. Her husband also took any and every job he could, but life remained miserable.

“Nobody helped us during those years. We were too poor to borrow money from anybody,” Luong recalls. “All we could do was hope.”

Open sesame

Vung’s name means ‘sesame’ and she longed to find a secret stash of cash, which she could unlock with two magic words. Through the difficulties and hardships, she continued carrying rocks and even stopped teaching at the kindergarten in 1990 to concentrate on this back-breaking career.

Then one day, she met a farmer. He was looking to buy banana breeder plants for his farm in Gia Lam District’s Phu Dong Village in Ha Noi.

She decided to take the risk. She told him that she could provide him with the breeder plants and travelled around extensively, locating, bargaining and buying them. The contract completed, she hoped to earn a profit of VND1million after a month.

Unfortunately, the farmer had a spate of bad luck and his farm died; the farmer quickly went broke as did Vung. However, she didn’t ask him for the money back.

Feeling that he owed her, he guided her into gardening, because according to him, “only gardening can change your life.” He pledged to help her with all his heart.

Vung listened and believed him. She took a chance and left everything behind, even her children and husband, and headed to Ha Noi, about 30km away from home, in the hope of finding a chance to turn her life around.

The farmer, who Vung considered a brother, found her a contract job planting 150,000 litchi seedlings in the Fruit and Vegetable Institute. She got part of her salary in advance, half of which went into paying off the debt. She put the rest into planting litchi seedlings. It was very dry and hot when the buds began sprouting, and they began to wither.

“I knew if the sprouts died, we would die,” Vung says. “I looked at the sky, cried and prayed for the rain and a miracle happened. The heavens opened up and it rained that night. The litchi sprouts recovered by the morning and we paid off the debt.”

Fairy tale ending

The Hung Yen centre for breeder plants and animals, about 30km from Ha Noi, is always crowded with customers buying seedlings and piglets. The centre is owned by Vung.

She also owns a farm covering more than 2ha, perpetually colourful with different kinds of breeder plants of typical varieties such as the longan of late and early season, seedless persimmon, Canh orange, Dien pomelo, red bananas, jackfruit and mango.

The fact that Vung is now successful doesn’t stop her from travelling and studying others to learn from their experiences in gardening and farming, learning the market to know what it really needs. Rather than simply selling plants, she also helps to plan other people’s farms, giving tips and guidance on how to plant, water and use fertiliser for bumper harvests. Her husband Luong takes care of the pig herd.

Breeding plants and animals earnsVung VND700 million a year. There are always 50 workers on the farm, most of them local residents with good salaries.

Still, for her, the biggest source of joy is her happy family and successful children. Two married daughters have followed their parents’ gardening career. The second son is an engineer working for the Fruit and Vegetable Institution and has his own farm. The forth daughter graduated from Agriculture University and is now doing business with her husband in Russia. The youngest daughter has just taken a university entrance exam.

Vung’s tale is a true reminder to us all that no matter what obstacles life places in our way, with perseverance anself belief, dreams can come true.

(Source: VNS)

Update from:

Provide by Vietnam Travel

Labourer grows her way out of poverty - Profiles - In depth |  vietnam travel company

You can see more

enews & updates

Sign up to receive breaking news as well as receive other site updates!

Ads by Adonline