There are many stories of returnees and their reasons for returning. In this simple article. I would like to share the story of one family that just returned 1or 2 years ago.

The parents are 53 years old. They have 6 children, 4 girls and two boys. Five of them are already married. The parents moved from Cambodia in 2019 with the single daughter. In 2020, the rest of the children come back with their families.

When I asked them: Why did you come back to Vietnam? Or why don’t you live there? The mother wipes her tears and shares: “It’s very hard to live there. We live in the river. Our house is made of trees. When the rains come, the house gets wet. When the wind blows, the house shakes. When the waves pound fiercely, the house collapses. All of us live in anxiety. Our lives are threatened. Every day, we are so afraid of dying because we do not know what will happen to us. Besides that, we have to struggle to make a living. We live by fishing; sometimes, we catch nothing to eat.”

Why don’t you build the house on the land, and every day you just go to catch fish? She replies: “We are not allowed because we have no papers. We go on land when we sell the fish. Otherwise, we stay most of the time in the river.”

How long have you been there? “I was born there. And so many generations live there. Sincerely, we want to live there, but unfortunately, we could not. We are not the only ones leaving. A hundred families who lived with us left too.” She answers.

At present, six families are living in their parents’ house. They buy land at around 4,000 dollars and have to pay 80 dollars every month. However, they could not pay regularly. They put up curtains to divide the house into six small rooms. There are three grandchildren who study with us in Thanh Linh’s Parish. They have class with us in the morning. In the afternoon, they go to the havea field to gather the sap which runs on the ground. The grandfather works burying the dead. For each burial, he receives 4 dollars. The grandmother works at home peeling cashews. Each day she earns 1 dollar. The other children work at different things, whenever people hire them. Unfortunately, last month, the youngest daughter gave birth while her husband got into an accident. His leg was amputated. Their lives become harder. Nevertheless, when I ask them, after they have been living here for two years. Where do you prefer to live now, there or here? Surprisingly, all their answers are here. Why? They say: “Even though our lives here are difficult, but one thing we are sure that we are safe.”

I am so touched after listening to their story and the challenges they are facing. We try to help them by visiting and talking to them. We try to educate their children to develop their skills, so that in the future their lives might be better. May God bless them all.

Nguyen Anh Martha, aci