In the beginning of 1962, there was a battle between American and Vietnamese Military in the border of Vietnam and Cambodia. Huong, a 10 year old girl Cambodian, lost her family and ran away from the chaos. A Vietnamese trooper took her to a safe land inside Vietnam.
Since then, she became homeless and had to self-survive in Vietnam. 12 years later, got married to another Vietnamese homeless man, Huong and her new family wandered from one landfill site to another just to get by. Their son, Dai, was born in such circumstance. At the age of 16 month old, Dai suffered from meningitis. Without any treatment, he became handicapped. Huong’s husband passed away not long from that.
The two unfortunates kept dragging themselves from street to street, picking up wasted foods to survive. Until the residents in a slummed apartment let them live under their stairwell. [Official website]
A path into the slummed under-stairwell, where they’ve been living for the last 9 years
It’s only enough space for a bed and a few cooking pots.
Dai, now 33 years old, with his brain damaged and paralyzed from meningitis, is completely depended on his mother.
Few years ago, while picking wasted foods in a landfill site, Huong met To (in the picture). Feeling mercy with Huong, To helped her to start selling lottery tickets on the streets, making about five US dollars a day. If finishing her day before Huong, To would get to the under-stairwell to look after Dai until Huong gets back.
Brain damaged, both eyes blind, paralyzed, Dai is tied up to the bed while his mother is selling lottery tickets on the streets.
Huong tries to get back every noon to feed her son.
Once in a while, Dai can eat by himself. “Everytime that he can do something, I’m so happy. But I’ve been waiting for more than 30 years and he’s still not capable of doing any thing”, Huong said.
Last year, Huong suffered from a stroke and Rheumatic. Her knee’s been always swollen due to having to walk all day.
At the age of 63 and many health issues, Huong doesn’t know how much longer she’ll live. “If I die, who’s gonna take care of my son ?”
Being a Cambodian in Vietnam, without any identification, Huong and her son are not granted any social security or benefit. “No matter how unfortunate and how tough life can be, I will have to live, to fight all the difficulties … for my son.”