Of poverty and child labor, you – me – mia


Last week I wrote: “Today I’m packing my things and I’m really excited, I’m going to Sapa with Há and a couple of her friends. We have collected clothes and will distribute them to those in need. The people of northern Vietnam are very poor, they have little money to buy warm clothes for the winter and it is getting cold as a pig. "

Yes, and now back from Sapa, these words have become images that I will never forget! I have never been literally in the mud and surrounded by such poverty! No electricity, no running water, certainly no warm, huts that looked like pigsties, children without pants / without shoes / only dressed with a T-shirt. You cannot imagine how these people live.

Six Vietnamese, an Englishman and I drove further north until we were only 2 km from the Chinese border. There was the first village, Sin Chai, and I was speechless. I just stood there with tears in my eyes. The shame of being so rich. And also because they touched my heart, as much as they were happy about the things we brought with us! All the time I was wondering how this clothing should be distributed, how is that supposed to happen? If such poverty would begin to occur in Germany (which would not be possible), everyone would jump on the sacks and want to grab the most beautiful part for them without wanting to offend anyone. But in Sin Chai and the other villages, everyone was very calm, stood around us and waited until they got their hands in hand and then they went back and watched the events from a distance so that the next ones could get closer to get something. I don’t think they thought "wow, I have a new sweater", rather: "Wow, our village has a new sweater!".

The roads to the villages were more than adventurous. The Englishman couldn’t drive a moped, so he was sitting on my back and it was exhausting! It was cold, foggy and raining, at some point there was no more talk of roads, we dragged ourselves through mud and mud and drove through river beds with the wheels halfway in the water and our feet up to the sky.

let me speak the pictures:

And their bikes with the collected clothes, new shoes, drinking packages and sweets.

Only one moped was allowed on the bridge here, although that alone was questionable..

The village of Sinh Chai just before the Chinese border. No electricity, no running water, no news. Pigs, goats, chickens, dogs and rats everywhere and in between, children play barefoot, naked and somehow I wonder how hard these little worms are and how soft I then have to be.

This village belongs to the H’Mong ethnic group. They speak a language that even Vietnamese cannot understand.

One girl was 18 years old and was / is a mother of 3 children!

We were wrapped up so thick, we were still freezing, but these tots run barefoot through mud and then on through the waterfall..

They watched every step closely and just waited. It felt like Christmas, just 10 times as beautiful!

These little brown googly eyes eyed me closely. I looked like a pink Michelin man in my rain suit. As a child I would have been afraid of me.

School books, pens, socks, shoes and sweets were distributed in the bags. Anyone who got a bag withdrew. so calm, in a country that is so loud, that was incredible.

Only 3 lint on the head..

And the women were happy for their children. I hardly saw any men.

And the way back.

to the next village.

to the next children

who patiently and critically observe what is happening here.

The boy on the far right, would have a very strong expression, he never let go of me.

Sometimes there were winters in which the whole village only scraped bamboo sticks for months. Banana trees alongside huts, in between mud, animals and that is everyday life.

even the dogs looked sad.

And in the last village came the last shock, little girls (maybe 7 years old) who were even proud to "be allowed to work" at their age.


The first day was done and so were we. Hunger, cold and broken wheels drove us back to Sapa as quickly as possible.

And slowly the fog subsided and you could see where you were.

The table was always full of and they showed me how and what to eat in Vietnam.

The specialty of the north: rice paper, salmon, cucumber, carrot, onion and pineapple rolled up and dipped in soy sauce, done.

this time as fish soup. The fish was swimming in the pond of the large garden 5 minutes ago. Hang chose a salmon for us and then he was caught and killed. Had I been able to, I could have cried for the second time. But it was inconceivable for everyone that I didn’t eat meat. "Fish is ok, it’s it Melli. "

BBQ .. That went too far .. Chick, just like that .. with everything..

or chicken legs?

Vietnam is the country of meat consumers. When I try to explain what it means to be vegan, nobody listens to me anymore.

Or for breakfast: Banh Cuon. A kind of pancake made of rice, of course filled with meat and then served with roasted onions. In addition, noodle soup with bamboo and beef.

The next day we had really nice weather. I look like a schnapps thrush with a sunburnt red nose on my face .. haha

You could look so far at times, incredibly beautiful.

Sapa, mountains – rice fields – mountains – rice fields..

.. Mountains – rice fields – mountains – rice fields – mountains – rice fields

And in between a 64-year-old woman who sells tea and grills sweet potatoes, rice, meat or eggs. The sweet potatoes taste so delicious!

and then mountains again.

and clouds that come and go

Hang and Phuong, who organized everything. So loving the two! Thank you!

If someone has a plan on how to fight poverty, let me know I’ll join!


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Christina Cherry
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