On a Saigon canal, life is but a dream

Thanh Nien News

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For this family of five from the Mekong Delta, hopes that poverty will end someday help them carry on


 The family of three generations lives on a boat (left) under Tan Thuan 1 Bridge across the Te Canal between Districts 4 and 7. They are all worried about a government’s plan to clear the pier in the near future.
 Tran Duy Khang, 9, helps clean up water from the boat after a downpour.
 His father, Tran Van Toan, makes a living carrying passengers on a ferry that he rents. He also rides a motorbike taxi. He has hoped to buy a bigger boat but he could only earn enough to feed his two children and send Khang, his first, to school.
 Toan said he has worked many jobs since first coming from his home in Ben Tre Province to the city around 20 years ago, including selling coconuts on the street and working as as a porter.
 He came back to Ben Tre and married his wife after saving some money from selling coconuts.
The couple does not earn enough to send their 4-year-old daughter, Tran Thi My Y, to kindergarten, so she spends most of the time around the boat. 
Y greets her father back from work.  
 Khang spends hours in the water every afternoon, playing and shaving moss off the boat.
 Khang helps pull his father’s ferry to shore. He has not figured out what he would like to do when he grows up, but he always loves the idea of sailing out for a real journey.
 Too much time in the water makes him sick sometimes.
 Tran Van Giai, the grandfather, works with Toan. Giai said he hopes his grandchildren get a chance to study properly, so the cycle of poverty won’t continue.
 This teddy bear fished from the water is the children’s only toy.
 Khang shows off a rooster that he is raising as a boy from another boat comes visit. Both he and his sister are pretty excited anytime they have a visitor around their ages.
Khang spent his early years in Ben Tre Province and always wishes to come back there. “I have a lot of friends there,” the 9-year-old boy says. 
You can find the original Vietnamese story here on Zing.

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