KHÁNH HÒA — Lê Chí Cang, 19, started his one-year mission on the Nam Yết Island at the beginning of this year.
From the southern province of Bình Thuận, the island, part of the Trường Sa (Spratly) Island District in the central province of Khánh Hòa, is a very far and strange place for him.
Cang is the only child in his family. His father died when he was a sixth-grader. Now only his 65-year-old mother is living at home.
Like many other young soldiers, Cang was very homesick when arrived at the island. He also worries much when thinking about his mother home alone.
So when Cang began his year on the island, a psychology consultancy team helped him adjust, and get used to life without his mother.
Sure, he was sad at first, but gradually, thanks to the help of the experts, the smile started to come back to his face.
Lieutenant Võ Minh Thiên, 25, head of the team, told Cang: “You should take care of your health, fulfil your tasks well and make your mother proud.”
Agreeing with Thiên, two remaining members of the team – Hồ Văn Cường, 21 and Nguyễn Đăng Kỷ, 21, gave Cang more encouragement.
Lieutenant colonel Nguyễn Văn Khương, a political officer on Nam Yết Island, told the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that soldiers come from different provinces and cities, so understanding their feelings and wishes was very important.
“When doing the duty on the island, many of them are sad at first as they must be far from home, their families and their lovers,” he said.
“The duty of the psychological consultancy team is helping new soldiers integrate with each other, forget they are homesick and concentrate on their tasks.”
The work is similar on other islands.
Lieutenant colonel Trần Văn Quế, a political officer of the Sinh Tồn Đông Island also told said the psychological consultancy team was always available for people to share their problems and find solutions.
Quế is proud of the team and said that it worked effectively.
Work on the island was quite hard and exhausting, thus keeping people in good spirits was a priority, said Quế.
“We set up solidarity groups to work together to help each other finish our mission,” he said.
Each island has different teams to help ease obstacles.
When a soldier comes to an island, leaders will study for his personal information and family situation, create good conditions for him to contact his family regularly so that he will have motivation to work.
The case that Quế remembered the most is of Nguyễn Quốc Anh, a young soldier posted there last year.
Anh heard that his older sister suffered from blood cancer when he was on the island.
Due to being so far way and busy, Anh could not come back home to visit her.
But was allowed to call his sister every day and Anh told her try to wait for him. However, she died after only one month.
This was a shock to Anh who’s father had passed away when he was six years old, and now his sister also died.
During Anh’s difficult period, leaders on the island and the psychological consultancy team were always close to him offering advice and support.
“If my leaders and comrades did not take care of me, I’m sure that I must take much time to overcome such pains,” said Anh.
Anh joined many activities on the island including music performances, as well as working excellently.
Lieutenant colonel Quế said that spirit was the most important factor that encouraged soldiers to complete their duty, thus the psychological consultancy team was determined to help the solders and resolve all their problems. — VNS