Nga’s Letter – Growing Up Along the Red River
On Jun 3, 2015, at 22:38, Thanh Nga Hoang wrote:
Good Morning Marie!
I’ve just read your blog about your amazing experience in Vietnam!
Maybe you don’t know this but my hometown is alongside The Red River. I love that place but I am scared of the river’s strength.
I remember when the water became high, the narrow village road was slippery. My mother and I each tried to press our ten toes on the ground as if we were lizards on the wall.
My favorite childhood memories are of riding on the back of my mother’s bicycle and going with her on the village road to visit our relatives.
The Red River Delta is fertile with wide fields on either side in the country where farmers spend long days without a break from their labor or relief from the heat. I remember as a child when we heard that the floods were coming, the farmers and all the local people tried to fight against nature.
But some lost their houses and some lost family members and friends. Food was scarce. It was a sad time. But out of the sadness and despair, relationships with others were closer than before the floods. Everyone seemed to take care of each other more carefully. And life was revived as if the revival of trees in the spring.
The circle of life from generation to generation continues to fill the children’s memories and nourishes their souls so that they can overcome difficulties in life.
Talking about and thinking about my hometown and the Red River reminded me of a poem from the collection of poetry by Đỗ Trung Quân.
It is a much longer poem, but the part I remember goes like this:
“Mom, what is the hometown,
That the teacher teaches me that I must love?
Mom, what is the hometown,
That everyone who left there missed a lot?”
Hoang Thanh Nga
University of Social Sciences and Humanities.
HCM City National University