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vinh long, vietnam

What's your favorite subject?

"My favorite subject is Art."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"I want to be a nail artist."


"Because it's pretty."

"I like the day. In the day, I can play, but at night I can't play anymore."

Who do you love the most?


What do you love the most about her?

"She gives me money to go to school."

What's your favorite thing that your mom does for you?

"When she carries me."


“We carry her up and down the stairs at school. I used to carry her myself to school but now my knees hurt so I limp when I walk. Her mom carries her now.”

When are you the most saddest?

"When I go to sleep. Also, when I go to school because I can't watch cartoons.

What do you do when you're sad?

"Draw! And watch cartoons."

What was your happiest day?


How come?

"Because I get to play!"

“Nobody in the city would do the surgery. We heard that a doctor from France was here working with a charity and was told to show up at the hospital door. We couldn’t get a ticket to see him because the hospital wasn’t for children, we went in anyways and the doctor wasn’t sure what was going on but a lady there helped us fill out a ticket. "

“Her first visit, she hugged and kissed the doctor and sang songs to him. When she was younger, she was so easy to love, we would teach her songs and she would remember them all so easily. The doctor agreed to do the surgery but he would have to return to his country for three months until he could do it. He asked us how much we could afford but I told him we had no money. The doctor said he would cover the entire surgery.”

"She had sleeping problems and took a bunch of pills. Now, she can't remember things anymore."


"I've worked a lot of jobs. I grew up here. When I was nineteen, I left for Saigon to work. I started off in a leather factory and later worked in a garment factory.

I met my husband there. He showed me a lot of care so I accepted him. 

He's left us ten years ago, I was seven months into my pregnancy. We got in a fight and he left."

"I had to leave her for a long time, I've only been able to be with her for the past two years. I left her with her grandma to raise her. I've been working in the city to send money home."

"I'd come home once every year during Tet"

"I've been home for the past two years to raise her since she's getting older and it's harder for Grandma to take care of her now.


"I have to be there at school with her. Even when she goes to the restrooms, I need to provide constant care for her."

"She was easy to raise, I started taking care of her full time when she was seven months old. She would sleep with me while her mom went away to work. — I've raised her into a big girl!"

How did you feel raising her alone?

"Oh, she was precious. She was such an easy baby, she never cried or screamed. But what choice did I have? Her dad had left her and her other grandma wouldn't even look her way because she wasn't born a boy. It was hard... but I couldn't just leave my grandchild."

What's your favorite thing about her?

"She's very good. When we use to take her to the clinic, the doctor would ask if she was ready for her surgery and she would respond with 'I'm ready'. She'd hug and kiss the doctor on the cheek and even sing during those times. When she got into her surgery gown, she'd wave bye bye to us.

How did you feel being apart from her all these years?

"I missed her so much. I would come home from work and cry all the time. I hung a picture of her up on my wall."

"She's well behaved. She reminds me to do all the chores! When I get home from work and forget to do the laundry, she says, 'Mom! How could you forgot to take care of me! You need to do the laundry so I have clothes to wear!'.


Wherever we go, she asks questions about everything, I love that about her. — Although, one thing I don't like is that she is like her dad, she nags all the time".

"The nurses loved her, they always brought her barbies. She's been through seven surgeries already. We were scared to death every time. We'd wait in the patient room all day and couldn't eat anything. She'd go into the surgery room at 1pm and come out at 9pm. Now, we need one more surgery for her to able to walk with a prosthetic."

"She sits in class by herself. — It's not that they won't play with her, the teacher's worried that if they play, she would fall and get hurt and so he doesn't let the other children play with her."

What was your happiest moment? 

"When she got her surgery."

What do you hope for her?

"I want her legs to work so she could walk with her peers."


What are you most afraid of?


"I'm afraid of growing old and not having the money to take care of her."

"I just don't have the means to take care of her. It's frustrating."

"I'm stressed, I can't sleep in peace. She's like this and her mother can't remember things anymore. — When we take her to the doctors, she doesn't remember the way to his room anymore or the way out of the hospital."

"I feel like she's fine if I'm alive but once I'm dead, I don't know if she's going to be okay. — People send money sometimes but where's the money I have myself to take care of her? God, I get about 1.3mil VND ($62 USD) to 1.5mil VND ($53 USD) a month but otherwise I don't know where the money is going to come from to take care of her. I had to take care of her at school so I didn't even have the chance to make any income."


"She tells me I'll try to do well in school to take care of her mom and that I'm getting too old now to take care of her. She's working hard, she tells me that all the time. She tells me someday she'll cook for me. She's wise for a kid."

Nghi's mother sells potholders for 10,000 VND ($0.42 USD) each as their main source of income.

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