Saturday, January 2, 2010

Room With a View

The house, which we are fortunate to be sitting, is large and airy with comfortable furniture. We sleep to the hum of an air conditioner on clean sheets, under mosquito netting. There is plenty of hot water and indoor plumbing. We are well cared for by Lien, Linda the home owner's housekeeper, who comes every day. Today Elaine had a lesson in cooking rice. Lien has brought some very special, very white, almost translucent rice for Ong and Ba (old man, old woman with respect!)

Lest we get lazy and forget why we are here, all we need to do is look out our bedroom windows. The pictures are what we see, depicting the life of typical working Vietnamese. On their small patch of earth, they live, grow vegetables and raise the chickens, ducks, geese and pigs whose serenades awake us each morning. Some are wood workers, others metal workers. These "home based businesses" happen right on the front porch or under a leanto. The average income has risen from about $300 annually to about $500 over the past three years, but this surely is a statistic which is skewed by the much higher salaries in the large urban areas, rather than what our neighbours earn.

Humbling this reality.
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