Nguyễn Thanh Nhựt (glasses, centre) on a boat outside his native Hải Tặc Island, Kiên Giang. —Photo tienphong.vn
KIÊN GIANG — After returning to his hometown on Hải Tặc Island in the Mekong Delta's Kiên Giang Province, Nguyễn Thanh Nhựt’s found himself with time on his hands.
Not wanting to sit around idle, the 19-year-old decided to volunteer to help fight the pandemic.
“Although my hometown is far from the mainland, there is still a high risk for the pandemic to spread to the island because foods and other necessity goods must be transported from the mainland," Nhựt, a marketing student at An Giang University, told Tiền Phong (Pioneer) online newspaper.
During his time as a volunteer, Nhựt has had a chance to contribute to his hometown’s efforts in preventing the pandemic, as well as gain new knowledge about health and connect with many people on the island.
But this was not an easy job. Besides juggling his volunteer work with online university classes, Nhựt had to deal with other challenges such as bad weather on the way to surrounding islands to collect samples for COVID-19 testing.
“We often have to travel by boats to surrounding islands to collect samples for COVID-19 testing and it is easy to encounter dangerous weather conditions such as storms or whirlwinds. However, I am willing to help to keep the people safe,” he said.
One of Nhựt’s most memorable moments was when he was assigned by local authorities to record and make video clips to report about pandemic prevention efforts of the island. The news report was then sent to local outlets for information dissemination about COVID-19.
Nhựt also said this task helped him meet a lot of local officials, medical workers and soldiers who are all working hard to prevent COVID-19 and ensure safety for local residents.
Nhựt recalled a time when his delegation travelled to Hòn Giang island to collect samples for COVID-19 testing, and there was a thunderstorm bringing in heavy rains and strong waves.
"All people on the boat got wet and felt nervous but we were still determined to overcome difficulties to accomplish the mission,” he said.
Although volunteering in the islands seems difficult as it requires travelling a lot by boat, Nhựt and his team received support from local islanders who are willing to cooperate in taking samples for testing as well as prepare meals for the volunteers.
“I hope that local residents in the island would strictly abide by COVID-19 prevention and control regulations in order to keep the island free from the pandemic,” he said. — VNS