I grew up in a very poor village of the coastal region. That’s the most peaceful village where has friendly and nice people who worked hard generation to generation. There has beautiful long pine hills and many sunny beaches with white sand. I love my village …!
In summer holiday, my little friends and I usually ran to the beach every afternoon. We picked up together a lot of sponges people threw on the beach and then put all of them in a very big sack. And that was our bouy. I bet that It was our unique product that nobody could think about.
If somebody asks me “ What is the most beautiful memory of mine about where I came from? “ I would say that is dragnet fishing in the sunset light. Each time we see the fishing boats were coming, even we were playing our favorite games, we always ran quickly to the dock and waited until the boat arrived. Hundreds of thousands of fish, squid and shrimp were slowly dragged and put them into the cabin. We always kept paying attention to every step they did and that was just interesting. The fish tried their best to turn up with the hope that they could go back the ocean. Unfortunately, only a few of them could do that!
Only strong men could be responsible for dragging fish. They looked like warriors in the fables we shared with each other every day with tanned skin, brown hair and muscular body. That’s why the boys were passionately watched them. I bet they were wishing to become good fishermen like the people they were looking at.
While the men were dragging fish, the women were preparing a lot of bamboo baskets to gather all of fish. They carefully concatenated all of Ca Chao ( a type of fish which is rare and delicious), put them into a specific box and then other people were willing to bring them to the market immediately. Some people were standing right next to the boat with big baskets, big ropes and “ xe tho” ( kind of bike restraint to put things on and can be driven also ) and ready to take those baskets with full of fish to the Seafood market not very far from there. Everything happened quickly and It was so exciting. We seemed forget everything around us and just kept looking until people finished things.
After that, we hand in hand went back home, sang some “ Dan Ca” songs together. Dan Ca is our traditional music. It is written about daily life and love between people with slow melodies. Nowadays, not many young people can sing Dan Ca but It will always be our pride.
Life in our village was a really simple life. I always wonder “ Can younger generations still have such beautiful things in their modern life like what we used to have ? Many factories will be built instead of green paddy fields and peaceful beaches. And where will be the place for kids to play together? or Can they even see what we used to see every sunset…?”
Text and Pictures by Chung Le, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.