Foreigners have been giving bags of food to people in difficult circumstances and joined volunteer groups to help the country they are living in.
|Ho Chi Minh City made lists of non-Vietnamese living or stuck in the city to quickly suport food and vaccinations, Photo: Le Toan & Tu Trung |
For the past three months, French businessman Gaveau Patrick and his group of volunteers have been preparing tonnes of goods and preparing thousands of food portions to give to the poor in Ho Chi Minh City. Patrick is from the Ivory Coast, but has lived in Ho Chi Minh City for nearly 14 years with his Vietnamese wife and daughter.
“I’m stuck because my work is suspended and I can’t go anywhere, so I thought it was better to participate in helping those in need instead of sitting at home,” he shared. He often takes on the responsibility of transporting sacks of rice and vegetables from the warehouse, then sorting and dividing them into bags.
|Many foreigners join charity activities to help local needed communities |
Before the city tightened social distancing, Patrick directly drove food trucks to deliver to the poor. During this time, his volunteer group was also supported by the military and police forces packing and distributing.
“It sounds odd that we welcome the police and the military to our homes. But they are important people who help us deliver food to the people, because now only they can move around in the city,” Patrick said.
Not only that, Patrick’s volunteer group also provides food for many foreigners in difficulties, as well as orphanages.
On his personal social media accounts, he also regularly shares photos and articles about his volunteer work. Thanks to that, his group has received more donations from friends in Vietnam and abroad.
“We are proud to have served over 150,000 meals to families in need, while continuing to do this amazing work,” he wrote.
Elsewhere, located more than 900km from Ho Chi Minh City, Swedish man Kawa Wandi is also doing charity work like Patrick, after being stuck in Vietnam for more than a year while on a world tour. “Before coming to Vietnam in early 2020, my wife and I were in India, Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand to support and help children in orphanages or disadvantaged areas,” Wandi said.
When the disease first broke out, Wandi contributed money with Quoc Tri – the owner of a nearby restaurant where he and his wife rented a house – to buy necessities and give to the poor. At the end of October last year, his volunteer group also went to the central province of Quang Binh to give gifts to people affected by floods. Wandi and his wife travelled hundreds of kilometres to the highland districts of Quang Nam to give school bags and milk to poor students in early 2021.
Before Hoi An implemented social distancing at the end of July, he and his wife continued to work with a group of volunteers to cook for the poor.
Wandi confessed that he and his wife were interested in the ancient beauty of Hoi An. The friendliness, hospitality, and open attitude of the natives made him love the land and its people even more.
“One day we will return to Sweden. But for now, we still want to continue to contribute to Vietnam,” Wandi said.
Many other foreigners living and working in Vietnam’s large cities are joining volunteer groups to help people in difficulties because of the pandemic. Although many of them are also victims of the pandemic, this action asserts that they not only receive help, but are also willing to share with the land they are attached to.