Monday, March 30 2020


Losing a leg couldn’t keep him from the sea

Update: April, 18/2018 - 09:00
Despite his disability, Huynh goes to sea to earn his living and support his family. — Photo
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG TRỊ —When he was 11 years old, Nguyễn Văn Huynh left his home to go fishing—a routine task made dangerous by the raging resistance war. He had been going out to see with his father since he was 10 years old. This time, however, the capricious violence of war would claim an innocent victim.

“I was struck by bullets and was wounded. The injury was too serious so my leg had to be sawed,” said Huynh.

Like many other men in the sea village, however, Huynh still hoped that he would grow up healthy. He nurtured an aspiration to conquer the sea. And despite his injury, he became a skillful seamen through his will and energy.

A local resident of Village 6, Cửa Việt Town in Gio Linh District in the central province of Quảng Trị, said that Nguyễn Văn Huynh, 61, was the most famous man in the village. No one could match his dedication to fishing, Dân Trí reports.

Early obstacles

After the accident, Huynh met many obstacles when he attempted to leave his house.

“I desired to go out to sea, but I just cried when I saw strong waves,” he said.

In the period of 1971-72, the American troops inspected coastal areas rigorously, so Vietnamese troops had to use guerilla tactics to cope with the enemy.

Being a local youth and knowing the area clearly, Huynh volunteered to guide Vietnamese troops to pass the enemy’s inspection stations.

“Because I’m disabled, the American troops did not pay much attention. I guided many soldiers successfully,” said Huynh.

After the nation was reunified in 1975, Huynh continued fishing for his living.

Determine to cling to the sea

After a long time using clutches, Huynh got a fake leg. But he had to overcome serious pain to be able to do work with the fake leg.

“Many people worried for me because they believe that disabled people could not do fishery work. But I still tried, and at last I could adapt to it,” he said.

When Huynh got married and had children, he was more aware of his responsibility to support his family. He did not mind hard work.

“I used to go out far to sea for more than ten days despite the challenges,” he said.

Huynh’s strongest memory is of a day when he suddenly met storms in the sea. His ship was battered by strong waves that threatened to overturn his boat. He thought that he would die, but luckily, he returned safely.

In the past few years, Huynh has rarely gone out to sea due to his weak health. Sometimes when he misses his lifelong work, he follows several other seamen to work for about 20 days.

Now he often rides his coracle along the Hiếu River to catch fish and shrimps. He earns about VNĐ100,000-120,000 (US$4.4-5.3) per day.

After 50 years of working on the sea, Huynh feels he is familiar with every corner of the Cửa Việt coast.

None of Huynh’s six children have followed him into his career. — VNS   


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