In Ly’s dream
In Ly’s dream, she could hear sounds like strong winds and waterfalls that were sometimes near, sometimes far. She could feel a rush of air which was wet and it sent a thrill running along her spine.
“Wake up, Ly. Wake up. It’s all flooding!”
The scream of her grandma suddenly woke Ly up. It was midnight and the house was completely dark–the electricity was cut off. Ly started hearing noises from her neighbors. In the dark, step by step and with sleepy eyes, Ly slowly moved towards the door trying to figure out what was happening.
Ly stepped out of her house and felt her feet land in deep water. Ly quickly realized her dream was not a dream. There was water flowing from the highlands to the lower parts of the town and it wouldn’t stop raining.
The whole neighborhood was flooded
The whole neighborhood was flooded. Ly, terrified, went back inside the house. She started collecting household items and putting them up as high as she could.
There were not many valuable things in a house of two to worry about.
Days later, it still hadn’t stopped raining and another typhoon was coming that was even more dangerous than the first.
The water level rose quickly.
Most of the furniture in Ly’s house was deep in the water. In her neighborhood, the poultry and pig farms, the cattle, and the gardens were wiped out by the flood.
“As we were used to floods happening in this region every rainy season, we thought that we could handle it. But we made a mistake, it was way more harsh and desperate than we had expected,” Ly explained.
Ly and her grandmother were evacuated to a community shelter. The continued rain combined with cold made Ly’s grandma’s illness worse. Since the flood began, Ly’s feet and hands had not been dry and warm – they were always freezing. However, Ly believes that she and her grandma were luckier than many others.
“There were many people left out there, sleeping on the rooftop of their house, waiting for relief for clean water and food,” she says.
Two weeks afterward, Ly and her grandma returned home. With their eyes, they surveyed the damaged gardens and the wet house full of mud. The flood had passed, but now they were faced with concerns about the environment and hygiene. The community was now also threatened by mosquitos and flies.
“There was no clean water nor food left. There were no warm blankets and dried beds to sleep in and the winter was coming very soon,” Ly said.
“Even though the flood has gone, its impact has been significant. It has taken a long time for us to re-set our living conditions,”, she added.
But Ly never gave up.
Ly returned to REACH to complete her training course. The school was also flooded, but luckily not badly affected. Back to school, Ly and her classmates had to work harder than before to make up the time they had lost. Their training was delayed for over three weeks due to the flood.
Last December, Ly received VND 1 million from REACH in flood recovery support.
“I spent this money on medicines for my grandma, and fixing the roof of our house which was taken out by the storms,” Ly said.
Ly also found a bartender job at a coffee shop near her house after graduation. With the income gained, her family life is now starting to settle down.
Ly was one of REACH’s students that were most affected by the floods but she still thinks she was one of the lucky ones because she was there with her grandma.
“I think I have been fortunate. I had returned home just before the flood came, so I was with my grandma during the floods. Not only that but I went to study at REACH where it helped me get a job in my hometown, and provided me with financial support when times get tough,” Ly said. “This all came just at the right time and helped mitigate the impact of the flood on our life.”
The story was written by Anh Nguyen, fundraising officer at REACH, and Mark Barnes, the former AVP volunteer at REACH, based on an interview with Ly Nguyen, a food and beverage graduate of REACH Hoi An.
It is to acknowledge the amazing vigor of REACH students and their communities who suffered from the historic flood in the Central region of Vietnam in 2020.
It is also to acknowledge the REACH donors, supporters, and alumni who assisted REACH in helping these students to overcome the impacts of the flood.
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