Free drinks cool city streets

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Tran Van Nghia walks the streets all day long selling lottery tickets. It's thirsty work.

Lucky for him then, on a street corner of Dinh Bien Phu sit two containers of iced tea there for the taking.

"Since the containers arrived, I, and others like me, save tens of thousands of dong every day," Nghia told local news website VnExpress.

"When I first came, I didn't want to take much thinking that I should leave some for others. The owner encouraged me, though. Now I bring my friends who are lottery ticket sellers and cyclo drivers. It's convenient and it's safe."

Nguyen Thi Huong, 64, wakes up early every day to buy ice cubes, make tea, let it cool and put everything into two five-liter containers labeled "charity drink" in front of her doors. She has been doing this for three years.

Huong sells cakes next to the containers so she knows when to pour in more water.

"I noticed there are many lottery ticket sellers and cyclo drivers who pass by the street every day. These people need to drink much more water than office workers but sometimes the extra expense puts them off. So while boiling water for my family, I make some extra for them to drink if they need," Huong said.

There are around a hundred people who drop by Huong's spot every day. Sometimes they come in large numbers and wait for their turn. Vendors, vehicle repairers from around the corner or college students coming from other provinces also stop to quench their thirst.

On a hot day, Huong just boils water and doesn't add tea because she fears it won't keep.

She usually goes through four or five water containers a day. When it's hot, passers-by also take a drink and she can use up to ten containers a day. Her children help to boil the water and buy ice.

Huong said the idea came after her many visits to her relatives in the Mekong Delta countryside, where every house had a jar of rain water at the door with a ladle for anyone on the street to drink if they needed.

"My act is a small one. I just hope I have brought some happiness to the poor, and I get some peace in return," she said.

According to VnExpress, water containers have started to appear on major streets in Ho Chi Minh City such as Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Vo Thi Sau, Nguyen Trong Tuyen, Vo Van Tan.

Vo Ngoc Mai has recently started to put water containers out on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh. "I've run a store here for nearly ten years. I've seen many lottery ticket sellers and the like ask for a drink and I was willing to give."

"In recent months, I've started to put a water container out as many people are too shy to ask," she said.

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