For construction workers and their children, life a rolling stone

By Lam Ngoc, Thanh Nien News

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A woman takes care of her children in a makeshift tent near a construction site in Ho Chi Minh City's District 2 as her husband works as a hod carrier. Photo: Lam Ngoc A woman takes care of her children in a makeshift tent near a construction site in Ho Chi Minh City's District 2 as her husband works as a hod carrier. Photo: Lam Ngoc
Ly Van Truc and Nguyen Thi Thuy, a married couple from the central province of Binh Dinh, have made their living as construction workers in Ho Chi Minh City for 12 years.
They have moved more than 40 times as it takes only a few months to build a house.
“Whenever we moved to a new construction site, we made new friends. Three months later, when our children began to feel attached to the new place, we would have to move our makeshift home again," Thuy, 31, said. 
"It's just very sad."
Construction workers in Vietnam often stay in teams of 10 to 15. They complete a project and quickly move on to another, together. 
In the group, bricklayers earn VND6 million (US$267) a month; hod carriers earn VND4.5 million ($200); and the person who cooks for the team is paid VND3 million.
Thuy’s husband, Truc, said sometimes their lives were in danger when snakes got into their tents.
Female workers
Nguyen Thi Thoan, also from Binh Dinh Province, is a bricklayer of another construction group.
These days, she stands on a scaffold in the scorching sun throughout the day to build a house in District 7.
“Apart from the main job, I wash clothes for male workers in my group every night. I earn VND15,000 ($0.7) from this laundry job,” Thoan said.
Ngoc Giau, who cooks for Thoan’s group, said she has recently joined this group after leaving her partner, who works for another group.
“We lived together for more than a year. He often beat me after drinking, so I fled,” said Giau, who comes from the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long.
While Giau is cooking for lunch, some male workers are putting mangrove palm leaves on the corrugated iron roof of their tent.
“Luckily, this time our construction site is near the mangrove palm forest. The leaves will help reduce the heat," one of them said.
"When it rains, the leaves also reduce some of the noise and we can sleep better at night."

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