Under a Saigon bridge, a family strives to keep their home afloat

Thanh Nien News

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The war veteran has been living on a canal in District 7 with his wife and daughter for more than two decades


Le Van Duc's family lives on a boat under the Rach Ban 2 Bridge, not far from a luxury residential area in District 7. With no electricity, they have to use oil lamps for lighting. Photo credit: Nguyen Quang/Zing News
Duc, 55, lost one leg while fighting against Pol Pot's army in Cambodia. He has five children with his first wife, who died young from an illness. He raised his children on his own, by fishing. “Then they grew up and when they could take care of themselves, they left for other places. And there was just me,” Duc said. 
Duc continued his life as a fisherman until he met his current wife Nguyen Thi Vinh.
 They have been together for more than 20 years. She gave birth to a daughter in her late 40s eight years ago. “We never thought we could have a child at that age. God bless us,” Duc said.
Since the baby was born, Duc stopped going fishing but made money by working any trivial jobs available. Now he mostly sells lottery tickets on the street because it has become much harder for him to find other jobs. 
Duc plays with his daughter one afternoon after selling all his tickets. 
 Duc teaches his daughter how to ride a bike, which is a gift from a scrap vendor. The girl is attending a charity class opened by a teacher several kilometers from her family’s boat.
The daughter plays football with a dog as her parents are busy working. 
The family has dinner on the boat. Duc said life is harder during the monsoon when heavy rain can sink the boat. 
 Duc helps his daughter with her homework. He said his biggest fear is that he and his wife may die when she’s still too young. He said: “I keep telling her to study hard to have a better life.”
You can find the original Vietnamese story here on Zing.

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