STOTY OF A LANDMINE VICTIM
With a pensive look, Mr. Le Van Hoa told us. “If that landmine accident did not happen, my family's life was not as hard as it is today.”
Hoa was one of the victims of the Vietnam war, a war that is thought to end 45 years ago in Hai Lang district, Quang Tri province. Unfortunately, its effects seem to be going on forever in this land. Like many mine/UXO (unexploded ordinance) survivors, he faces difficult life and suffers physical pain.
Hoa was born in 1976 as the oldest son of a family with 5 children. The family life in poor rural areas is very challenging. When the war ended, the people here only knew how to grow rice to as their food. Family income was very low, so he followed her parents to the forest to pick up metal scraps (including UXO) to sell for money which his father used to fund education and food for his children
In summer of 1993, on the way back after a day of picking up scraps, Hoa found an UXO and dug it up just to hear a loud explosion that sent him unconscious. It was a M79 grenade. Many small shrapnel stabbed into his head, legs, arms, especially the abdomen. Hoa was taken to the hospital by his parents and neighbors. Very few people then thought he could keep his life. He was found with a severe abdominal injury and had to undergo many gut surgeries. Donation of blood from relatives and friends allowed him to go through such surgeries. A bunch of metal pieces were removed from his body but some stay there forever. Magically, he survived.
The family, again, was struggling with deeper poverty. Because of the accident, Hoa was late for schooling. Finally, because of the accident aftermath effect that put him constantly in weak health condition and to provide education opportunity for his brothers and sisters, Hoa decided to stop studying to work and help his parents take care of them.
Hoa learned to be a carpenter. He was a skilled worker but because of his weak health, his income was unstable. In 1999, Hoa married his wife. The couple managed to build a temporary hut on a small piece of land and has lived since then. He has 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. The eldest daughter, 18 years old, is preparing to take college entrance exams. The second and third daughter is at 8th grade and kindergarten, respectively, and the youngest son is only 16 months old. Hoa's wife is hard working lady who spends her time on the rice paddy fields all day. The family income is around 150 USD per month, which is barely enough for the education and food for all members.
From 2001 to now, with the help of relatives and friends, the hut was upgraded to a temporary wood house. However, the shanty suffers continuously from strong wind and flood as the area is a low-lying zone, which forces Hoa’s family to seek for shelter in other relatives’ house every year.
His dream is to have enough money to upgrade his current house to a permanent shelter. Brick and mortar house will help his family go through annual floods and typhoons. His dream for a safe place for his children is always a story he shares with friends and neighbors. Despite his poor health, Hoa wants to participate into the process of construction. He wants to build it by himself, and of course, with the help from friends and relatives. Let’s join hand with him and raise the fund for this poor man.