We came to D. boat parking at noon. Suddenly it started to rain heavily. We had to stop by a coffee shop near the boat parking lot to wait for the rain to stop, but more importantly, to hear Mr. Ba talking about his 12-year-old niece. She had been suffering a terrible misery both in physical and mental health which was caused by her father. The heavy rain made noisy sound in the roof so we had to try hard to listen to Mr. Ba's sad story.
Her grandparents' home- where she was living with her mother
When the rain was getting smaller, we rented a boat to go to Mr. Ba's home where the girl was living with her mother and grandparents. We could see houses made cursorily on the edge of the canals. Mr. Ba pointed the house where the girl used to live with her father. That was a hell where she had to live terrible days during her childhood. It was called house but in fact, it was made by coconut leaves cursorily. It was far from everything, rounded by canals and mangrove forest. Seeing this place and its surroundings, I figured out why the girl was abused in a long time but no one knew.
After coming to her grandparents' home and talking, we got to know that the mother fainted when she realized that her daughter was abused by her husband. The girl's grandmother was haunted by the girl's misery and get hurts in her soul. But the most terrible one was the girl's suffering.
After listening to OBV's people talking about the plan of taking the girl to the city to have a better education and living conditions, also to take her away from neighbors and friends' sayings, she cried. Her tears ran on her innocent face.
She looked at her grandparents, her mother and uncle Ba as she looked for a comfort for her soul, a peaceful place after lots of sufferings in her life. Was she wishing that if her mother had taken more time to be with her and educate her, she wouldn't have been in such of these sufferings?
Her mother, grandparents and uncle was listening to OBV's explanation
Her memory about that terrible period of time might came back as she cried. In that house made cursorily by leaves, she didn't have a single day of peace. To prevent her from the surrounding world, her bad father didn't not let her go anywhere, kept her in the house as a slave. She only had a temporary peace at 3:00 A.M. to do her homework. Wine, betting and bad personality in her father had broken her dreams.
The house of misery
Our hearts were hurt when seeing her face of tears. We know that it was very difficult for her to forget that terrible memory, to come back to have fun with friends, go to school, and grow up. And it is very difficult to have a small but sweet memory about her father like other kids who are proud of their fathers. I wondered how her childhood would become when she had to carry such a terrible misery that no one knows when it would be over.
In the furthest area of the nation, there are lots of other kids who had the same suffering with her. During our meal, Mr. Ba talked to us about another girl living near there. She was abused by her father's friend. Those thoughts were with me when I was looking at houses which were deep in forest nearby the canals.
At 15:00, we stared to come back to Can Tho City. Our tiredness was replaced by happiness when the girl's mother and uncle Ba agreed to go with us to take a look at OBV's house, where she would be given a better future. We came to Can Tho City at 20:30 so we had to stop there to rest for the trip on the next day.
We left Can Tho for Ho Chi Minh city at 6:30 on May 7th, 2011. Our trip back to OBV's house had her laughs and surprises when she saw bridges, streets with lots of vehicles, buildings,... She smiled. An innocent and beautiful smile was back on her face. Looking at the big and far sky on her head, she was hoping her dreams would be continued. She was hoping that her childhood would be comforted with love.
Thiên An - NCHP
Translated by Le Nhat Lam. Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Nơi tận cùng những nỗi đau"