The central province of Binh Thuan granted a Vietnamese-Danish couple who did so much to help poor rural communities throughout Vietnam the land use rights to their remote homestead on Tuesday.
The pair became national heroes after a local man posted their troubles with corrupt officials, real estate swindlers and petty thieves as they built 24 low-cost suspension bridges and five schools throughout the country.
Deputy head of the People’s committee of Tuy Phong District Pham Thi My Loan invited Kurt Lender Jensen and his wife Tieu Thi Ngoc Sang to the office to receive the equivalent of the deed to the 2,150 square meters they now occupy.
The document provides exclusive and transferable usage rights to the sandy property through 2064.
The plot abuts National Highway 1A in Chi Cong Commune, Tuy Phong District.
Loan says that the couple are now local citizens with official land and house books.
While Kurt and his wife were visiting the local government office, a group of 30 youth volunteers gathered on their land lot and began to build a wire fence around the property.
Cement pillars and wires, purchased using a VND50 million (US$2,357) donation from the district’s youth union, were used to make the fence.
The couple have been plagued by chicken rustlers and petty thieves.
“The donation is too small compared with what they (Mr and Mrs Jensen) have done to help our poor rural communities,” said Nguyen Nu Thanh Loan, secretary of the local youth union.
Kurt joins local volunteers in building a wire fence around his land on Tuesday. Photo: Que Ha
An official bus stopped at the sandy hill at around 10 a.m. to drop the couple off.
Kurt got out and immediately pitched in to help the young volunteers.
His wife, Sang, quickly went into the kitchen preparing a big pot of bún bò Huế (Hue-style beef noodle soup), her husband's favorite.
“Since we [and our story] came to be known among the locals, we've gotten a lot of help from everyone we've met. Everyone says hello to us when we meet them on the road,” said Sang in her small kitchen.
“Even the chicken rustlers stopped coming around,” she said with a large smile.