|The new wheelchair will be the best in the country - and Dad gets the first.
Hieu sits in bed surrounded by devices designed by his creative son Hoa. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS) — Le Van Hoa works through his lunchtime at a workshop at the Hue College of Industry every day, despite the extreme heat. He is finalising an electric wheelchair designed for his father who was paralysed in a motorbike accident 12 years ago.
The 21-year-old student is adding more functions to make his paralysed father feel more comfortable in the wheelchair.
In 2011, Hoa started work on the wheelchair and made a trial model of it, which won several prizes.
The direction and speed were controlled by head movements.
"The new chair will include modern electrical and hydraulic systems," Hoa said.
"I am adding two more functions that allow my father to lie back or be upright.
"It will be the best wheelchair in the country, and I have reserved the first one for my father."
Hoa has great compassion for his father.
"Everyone says it's my creation, but I know it's my father's. He nurtured it inside of me and inspired me a lot. I inherited my creativeness from him.
Hoa remembers his father reading to him and how creative he was. He invented a machine used for grinding rice into powder so his wife no longer had to do it manually.
"My father was a normal farmer. He left school early without any qualifications to start a farming life," said Hoa.
When Hoa was in Grade 3, his father returned home from Cho Ray Hospital in HCM City. At that time, his father was too weak to even yawn and could barely open his eyes.
Hoa remembered that his mother, brother and sisters had cared for him for almost two years to revive the man who was on his death bed.
"I was too little to do anything for him at that time," said Hoa.
"Things came out as I started sleeping with him every night.
"At first I thought his recovery was due to the dedicated care from my family, but later I felt that there was a strong will to survive inside him."
We saw this with our own eyes when we paid a surprise visit to his home in May. With a generous voice he raised himself up to welcome us, and suddenly he was transformed from a paralysed person to a strong, brave individual waiting to welcome us.
Hieu greeted us with a smile and asked who we were and what we did, almost like a reporter.
"He's so optimistic and clear-minded," said Nguyen Nhu Trang, a Ha Noi resident who by chance accompanied us to Hieu's home.
Hieu looked quite well and a little bit younger than his age. He had a good complexion.
The more we spoke with him, the more amazed we were at his coherent, visual and even critical thinking, a skill that not many people in this country have. He's amazingly confident and self-reliant.
"I have never wished for good luck. We get the things we fight for," Hieu said.
My family have offered me the best care, but Hoa's love has created this equipment that helps me today," said Hieu, pointing at various devices around him.
They include an electric foot massager, a hydraulic back buffer, a lifting system used for moving Hieu from his bed to his wheelchair, a water machine to keep Hieu cool during hot summer days and a desk for him to use the internet.
Hoa said he was always thinking of what he could do to improve his father's life.
In Grade 7, he pulled Hieu's manual wheelchair around on the back of his motorbike looking for spare parts to use.
Hoa is in his last year at college now, and hopes to find an investor for his wheelchair so it can be mass produced to help other paralysed people.
After graduation, he plans to upgrade the devices again for his father, whose light shines on thanks to his son's love. — VNS