Beyond the glamor of Saigon

Thanh Nien News

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Around 100 migrants from the Mekong Delta have gathered and created a village in District 2
 A few hundreds of meters from the Saigon Bridge, the "village" is located in District 2, which is home to lots of luxury villas, fancy restaurants, and high-end shopping malls. But, unlike neighboring areas, the village consists of makeshift houses patched up from dried straws and discarded building materials such as corrugated roofing and plywood.
 Besides wild grasses and shrubs, puddles of water and mud are common sights.
 Most of the villagers started coming here from Mekong Delta provinces a couple of years ago when property projects were first started in District 2 to work at construction sites.They have gathered here.
 Some of the rooms for rent. At VND1 million a month, a room can host four people.
 Dwellers here have been offered money to move out and make way for a new park, but they say the compensation is too low.
Men work at construction sites, while women mostly work as scrap traders and street vendors, although some of them are construction workers too. However, not all women can find a job, so some stay at home, doing housework and taking care of children.
 When they are out of job, locals kill time by chit-chatting.
 Many local men raise fighting roosters as a hobby and to earn extra money, as they can sell each for VND2-3 million.
 A 14-year-old boy washes his face, using water from a ditch.
 Most children do not go to school, not only because their parents cannot afford it, but they are not city residents and cannot be enrolled a local school.
 About 20 local kids play around the neighborhood all day.
 Vo Thi Thuy Duong (L), 24, is living with her husband and her four-year-old son. She said they left their hometown in Kien Giang Province for the city hoping for a better life, since it was hard to make ends meet with farming there.
 While her husband works as a motorbike repairer, Duong works as a metal scrap trader. But it is not a stable job, so some days she stays at home with her son. Duong said she hopes to return home in about two years, when they earn enough to do some small business.
 Some people move here with their parents and children. This man has to stay at home to take care of his granddaughter so his children can work. He can no longer work due to joint and back pain.
 At one year old, this boy is one of the kids who were born in the village. Asked if she planned to send him to school, his mother only smiled, shaking her head.
Original Vietnamese story can be found here on

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