Tuesday, December 11 2018

VietNamNews

Growing older and still giving

Update: November, 25/2018 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

When Maria Nguyễn Thị Gái saw orphans in the streets, she felt lucky to have parents.

That made her decide to help children without parents.

Now that she is old, she still works hard to help orphans.

She is not wealthy but she feels she has enough, especially when she thinks of how little others have.

By Trần Hoàng Nam

At 75, Maria Nguyễn Thị Gái, works every day, spending the pittance she earns on charity work.

A member of the Hàm Long Parish, in Hai Bà Trưng District in Hà Nội, she has just been recognised by authorities as an example of the Patriotism Movement in the period 2013-18.

Born to a poor family on Hàng Bột Street in Đống Đa District, at a young age she accompanied her parents to work to earn money.

At that time, witnessing the hard lives of orphans wandering the streets to earn a living, she thought: “I’m still lucky to have a mum and dad, have things to eat and wear while they do not.”

She shared chunks of bread with poor girls and gave change to a young boy who had quit school to take care of his mother in hospital.

“My husband’s family follow Catholicism,” she told Việt Nam News. “I understand God’s teachings to do good things in life and share with people less fortunate than me.”

“I think it is very simple – giving away is keeping forever. I don’t want to receive anything in return. That’s my happiness each day.”

Gái is always busy with trips. She meets donors to ask for rice to give poor people. She knocks on every door for used clothes, bringing them home to wash and carefully pack up for children in need in rural areas in Lào Cai and Ninh Bình provinces.

Now her life is stable. Her five children have grown up and have their own families. She still wakes up early every day, does housework and rushes to help at a restaurant on La Thành Street. She works from 7am to 3.30pm and gets VNĐ100,000 per day. From that sum she saves a small part in a cloth bag.

She hides the bag in her house as the sum is valuable, containing her sweat after working many hours for the poor.

Spending little on herself, Gái is always willing to help needy people. Finding an old man freezing in cold weather, she gives him a new scarf and tries to find him warm shelter for the night. On meeting a poor mother with child, she hands over fresh eggs to feed the baby.

"I found Buddhism and Catholicism share the same moral teachings," she said. " Catholicism is a little more strict as followers confess their sins regularly. Both teach people to live well and help others."

"My only wish now is that I stay healthy and am able to work, to earn money to support poorer people," she said.

Good example

In her small house, old furniture is a memory of the past. She won’t buy new items as she doesn’t want to take money from her children.

“I think I have enough,” she said. “I have a warm blanket, rice and food to eat, my children are dutiful. I can work to earn money for myself and support others. I don’t want to rely on my children. To me, helping people is my daily routine.”

“She always thinks of poor people,” said Phạm Thị Sơn, an official from the local Women’s Union.

“When learning a neighbour is sick and needs help, she immediately tries her best to help.

“She often helps lonely old people living around, helps them take showers and takes care of them when they are sick.

“She is respected by all neighbours. Local authorities recognise her kind heart and admire her a lot.”

Her daughter Phạm Thanh Bình and granddaughter Trần Thanh Huyền have taken after Gái, doing their own charity work.

Bình cooks porridge to hand out to needy patients at nearby Thanh Nhàn Hospital every Saturday.

“When I was small, though my family struggled, my mother spared clothes and food for poor people,” Bình said.

“I wondered at first if my family was also poor. But my mother explained to me that we should not live for ourselves. People’s happiness is our biggest happiness. So I joined her to help needy people.”

Mentioning good examples in the area, Nguyễn Đăng Khoa, chairman of Bạch Mai Ward People’s Committee, said Gái was one of the best.

“She has been recognised as an exemplary individual in the movement of doing good work,” he said. VNS


 

 

GLOSSARY

At 75, Maria Nguyễn Thị Gái, works every day, spending the pittance she earns on charity work.

A pittance is a very small amount of money.

A member of the Hàm Long Parish, in Hai Bà Trưng District in Hà Nội, she has just been recognised by authorities as an example of the Patriotism Movement in the period 2013-18.

A period is a time, from one moment to another.

At that time, witnessing the hard lives of orphans wandering the streets to earn a living, she thought: “I’m still lucky to have a mum and dad, have things to eat and wear while they do not.”

Witnessing means “seeing”.

Orphans are children whose parents are dead.

She meets donors to ask for rice to give poor people. She knocks on every door for used clothes, bringing them home to wash and carefully pack up for children in need in rural areas in Lào Cai and Ninh Bình provinces.

Donors are people who give money, or other things for causes.

Now her life is stable.

Stable means staying the same and not changing dramatically from day to day.

"I found Buddhism and Catholicism share the same moral teachings," she said.

Morals are the values that help people know what is wrong and what is right.

"Catholicism is a little more strict as followers confess their sins regularly. Both teach people to live well and help others."

To confess means to tell the truth about something bad that you may have done.

Sins are things people do that are wrong.

“I have a warm blanket, rice and food to eat, my children are dutiful.”

People who are dutiful do what they are expected to do and behave responsibly.

“I don’t want to rely on my children.”

To rely on someone means to need them in order to survive.

“To me, helping people is my daily routine.”

A routine is a schedule of things you do at the same time every day, or week.

“She is respected by all neighbours.”

To respect someone means to think highly of them.

Local authorities recognise her kind heart and admire her a lot.”

To admire someone means to think they are “just great”.

“She has been recognised as an exemplary individual in the movement of doing good work,” he said.

An exemplary individual is someone who is perfect.

 

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following:

  1. Children whose parents have died.
  2. The opposite of rich.
  3. Something that keeps you warm while you sleep.
  4. A type of food that Phạm Thanh Bình cooks to hand out to needy patients at Thanh Nhàn Hospital every Saturday.
  5. The opposite of ill.

 

 

ANSWERS: 

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Orphans; 2. Poor; 3. Blanket; 4. Porridge; 5. Healthy.

 

 

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