|Nguyen Thi Dien's children gaze at some new schoolbags donated by strangers in the front yard. "But their father cannot know this blessing as he died in the storm,” Dien laments.|
Sorrow lingers in Quang Nam months after Typhoon Chanchu tore through the central coast province and left tragedy in its wake, but Quang Nam’s children still turned up in droves for the first day of the new school year.
Tran Thi Xi, a mother of six whose husband died in the storm, is packing bags for three of her children. Two years ago, her oldest child had to leave school and help support his siblings. Xi is thrilled that the rest of her kids can get an education.
In a nearby village, Nguyen Thi Dien is buying more school books for her children. Sitting in the house rebuilt by generous benefactors, she speaks through tears:
“Every year, when the new school year was coming, I could not rest. My fisherman husband did not make enough to feed us properly so I had to borrow from my neighbors to get the children back to school.”
This year, thanks to donations from strangers, her children can continue their schooling. “But their father cannot know this blessing as he died in the storm,” Dien laments.
In the front yard, her children gaze at some new schoolbags, again donated. “We were given many bags but kept just one each and gave the rest to our classmates”.
Mr. Truong Huu Xuan, principal of Phan Dinh Phung High School, wears a look of satisfaction as he watches the typhoon-affected kids return to class and promises to assist them as the year progresses.
“The return of the flood children is a cause for rejoicing,” exclaims Principal Xuan.