A wounded soldier and a dutiful son
She stood up with difficulty as she warmly gestured to us to enter her house. Her name is Le Thi Phuong Lan. She is 57 years old and lives at 30 Yersin, P. 3, Tuy Hoa, Phu Yen.
Seeing us, her son, Vu Le Quang, who was preparing lunch, stepped out to greet us. Le Thi Phuong Lan was sat on a trestle-bed in front of us. She nodded her head and her face brightened when she heard that we came from the ITA-s Fund, and had received her family’s application for allowance. Then, she tried to speak, but we couldn’t hear her very well. She must have been in terrible pain…
Quang spoke for his mother: “In 2001 my mother began suffering with a cerebral vascular illness. Before she had suffered from pain caused by a war-time wound. Now she is paralysed on her right side; her limbs are curled up and it is difficult for her to move and speak. My father is also wounded.”
When asked who cares for his mother Quang smiled kindly. “My sister is away from home. My father and I must look after my mother. My father’s health is not good. Often I go to the market, do the cooking, wash clothes… My mother has sacrificed herself for us. Now that she is suffering we can do nothing except try to take good care of her.”
I saw in her eyes the joy and pride she took in her son. She was unlucky to have been a war victim and to suffer illness, but she was happy to have a hard-working son who took care of his mother in all her daily activities.
I looked about her house, noticing that various elements of Oriental medicine were displayed in abundance. Quang went on: “My father and I run this Oriental medicine shop together, which earns nearly VND 500,000 a month. My parents are given an allowance of about VND 1,000,000 per month. With this income, it is very difficult for us to afford medical expenses to pay for the treatment of my mother’s disease. If my mother is given financial aid by the ITA Fund it will be a great help for us.”
When we promised them that we would pass along their wishes on to the Tan Tao Group, Lan seemed to be moved. We wanted to stay with her for a while longer, but it was past noon and she was tired and struggling to communicate. So we left, uneasy with the image of her curled-up limbs, dragging her feet which each step, carrying a stick, to see us to the verandah.
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