by Gia Loc
Motorbike-taxi driver among top 100 blood donors
Ten years ago, the Blood Donation Centre in HCM City made an urgent call at 10pm to ask a motorbike-taxi driver if he could rush to Thong Nhat Hospital to donate blood for a patient undergoing stomach surgery.
The hospital was 20 kilometres away and a patient undergoing stomach surgery needed his blood type. So, Vu Chan Minh and a friend hopped on their motorbikes and drove in heavy rain.
On the way there, Minh's old motorbike engine failed several times, but when they finally arrived, nurses were more than happy to offer the wet and hungry men some bowls of noodles to eat.
"If we hadn't left immediately, the patient would have died."
Minh, who lives in the city's District 8, said he began donating blood in 1994. So far, he has given 27 litres of blood, often in emergency cases.
For his efforts, the Viet Nam Red Cross Society has recognised Minh and other volunteers for their efforts with certificates of merit.
Minh is one of the top 100 blood donors in the country, according to the Red Cross.
Volunteers sell tomatoes on city streets to help farmers
"Who is free to sell tomatoes this weekend?" asked Pham Van Anh on her Facebook page several days ago. She was looking for volunteers to sell farm produce bought from farmers in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
Anh is one of several volunteers who work for the city's Con Duong Club, established two months ago to help raise the income of farmers in the province.
With funds from a private donor, the club contacts volunteers in Lam Dong who buy farmers' tomatoes at higher prices than those offered by traders.
Because of an oversupply during peak season, the price of tomatoes has fallen to VND500–1,500 (2-7 US cents) per kilo, but the club pays farmers VND5,000 a kilo.
The tomatoes are transported by truck to HCM City, where volunteers sell the produce for VND8,000 (40 cents) per kilo on Tran Quang Khai Street in District 1 and Ban Co Street in District 3, from 9am to 6pm.
They deliver to buyers in districts 1, 3, 5 and Phu Nhuan. If someone purchases more than 100kg, delivery is free.
Last week, they sold two tonnes of tomatoes on HCM City streets, and this weekend, they will sell an additional 20 tonnes at 20 sites. In the future, they plan to sell other fruits and vegetables as well.
Profits from the street sales go toward the Con Duong Club fund that gives support to vocational students who want to set up a business.
Living without a smartphone for an hour? The horror!
Giang The An of District 7 says it wasn't easy to put her smartphone in a box for one hour at the local Starbucks in HCM City. She kept checking it every five to 10 minutes.
She says it was especially unnerving when she and her friends heard the phones ring.
"My friends and I have a habit of taking photos to post on Facebook and waiting for friends to comment when we go out for a coffee," An says. "And we want to talk to each other, too."
Starbucks says it placed the boxes in their shops to promote face-to-face communication.
An says she and her friends were frustrated at first, but eventually they forgot about their phones and realised how much they had missed talking to each other without a mobile device in their hand. — VNS