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The Poor

“One day an NGO came to our village. They could see that we were really poor and said they were willing to help us. However before they could help us, we needed to obtain a certificate issued by the village authorities to poor families, otherwise they could do nothing for us. I had already been to the village office several times to ask for that certificate, but each time they refused to give it to me, saying that since both my husband and I were alive and seeing as how we only had two children, we were not considered to be poor by their standards.

So that is why I made up my mind to commit suicide”.

Each time someone dies in Vietnam there is a collection and family, friends and neighbors give what they can to help the family of the dead person, and share their loss. In this case the mother killed herself so that the family would get some money, and so that her children would qualify for the certificate mentioned above, and there was enough money to enable her eldest son to finish his last year at university. “The head of the NGO who is a truly remarkable lady, promised to help my son learn English and then find him a job.” Unfortunately since she died she did not have a chance to follow up with the NGO, but she died knowing that her children would be taken care of.

She left a letter for her children whom she loved very much. She felt that her son would look after his younger sister, who still had one more year of high school. Since she is a girl, her mother thought that perhaps she did not need to go to university!

In her letter she said that God welcomed the poor in Heaven, and hoped that she would be able to watch over her children from above. She did not appear to have much faith in her husband however.

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