Esther Rinaldi Healthcare freelancer in Ho Chi Minh City
I have already had no income for the past two months. I cannot start looking for a new job because the local recruitment agency is closed. I also had some trouble securing my food supply. However, I managed to get myself a rice cooker, a few kilogrammes of rice, chicken, and other ingredients, so I should be fine for a while.
I know there are some locals who also do charity projects to help foreigners in need like me. They send food directly to my house, so I do not need to go out.
Foreigners like me need support from locals and volunteers during this lockdown because not all foreigners are rich or can afford everything. I saw many foreigners also losing their jobs.
Thus, many foreigners must survive with a meagre amount of money during the lockdown for paying for a visa, rent, and food. Two months ago, I saw in someone’s Facebook post that a Russian mother and her little son were kicked out of the hostel where they were staying as they did not have money to pay for the room.
There are even foreigners who go to their embassy for support for food, a place to stay, and money to survive.
Gaveau Patrick Member of Song Chanh Niem Buddhism charity group
It must be a difficult time for everyone these days and also for the expat community, especially those who get little income. Many expats are suffering because they have lost their jobs over the last two or three months.
My wife and I have been members of a charity group. We are a small community that tries to help because we want and can do so. And so far, we are inspired by the Vietnamese people who are so supportive.
We see that many people care to help. We receive support every day from the community. Many are also supporting us financially with donations from abroad and Vietnam. Some are my friends, some we do not know. Yesterday morning our team unloaded 16 tonnes of vegetables, and last night we received six tonnes of rice.
With this, we can feed a lot of people for many days. But the organisation and preparation require an extensive amount of work from early mornings to late nights.
With Directive 16 strengthened in the city, we are asked to stay at home. Fortunately for us, we have special authorisation from the police which allows us to travel in the city. So, the members of our community can easily travel around in District 8 to help others.
One of the greatest successes of Vietnam is that the people unite and get together to support and care for each other in such critical times.
Antonio Cadabona Jr. Filipino immigrant
It’s hard for me living in the middle of social distancing in Ho Chi Minh City, because I don’t have a job and no money to pay for rent or visas. I can only afford it because I asked my sister back home for money.
Before the current outbreak, I was a cook at a Greek restaurant in District 1. But I was not prepared, and the lockdown was not expected to last this long. Though I had accumulated some savings, these got exhausted quickly as I was helping my Vietnamese friends. I didn’t realise how quickly that went.
Now, I don’t have money, so I survive through the help from my family and others every day. My former boss was the one who helped me to extend my visa, but he only paid 50 per cent. He was also so nice to give me 25kg of rice and a box of noodles.
I love Vietnam. I am very happy because even if people don’t know me, they still help me. And I thank God because there are people with goodwill out there, willing to support the community. There is a saying that you share with other people what you have, and you will receive grace from the Lord.
Even though it’s pretty hard, I accept this situation, because I am not the only one who is suffering.