“Slum” village in Hanoi and a few-dish meal to get through the “price storm” days

30,000 dong for a father and son’s food all day

Near noon, huddled next to the mini gas stove placed in front of the motel room, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hien (52 years old, Son Tay, Hanoi) preparing meals for the whole family. Today’s lunch for Mrs. Hien’s family is the first time there is only intestines cooked with melon.

Old woman tells about 10 years in Hanoi The family lives by working as a hired pusher and porter at the market. One eye is “bad” but every night, Mrs. Hien and her father and son still go to the market to make money.

“This job is also precarious, some days it works, some days it doesn’t. On days when there is a lot of work, we make money. 200,000 VND/person, but there are times when the three are hungry and can’t earn any money. In contrast, the rent for electricity and water is fixed from 1452,977 million VND/month Small cooking oil used to cost 15,000 VND, but now it’s increased to 20,000 VND. A bottle of 25,000 VND fish sauce has skyrocketed to an additional 10,000 VND,” Ms. Hien lamented.

Slum village in Hanoi and a few-dish meal to get through the price storm days

An alley away from Ms. Hien’s room, nearly 2 p.m., Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan (50 years old in Khoai Chau, Hung Yen) just had lunch. He told me to set the tray up, but there were only a few boiled vegetables, salted eggplants, and a plate of fried fatty meat.

Growing up in a reformatory in Hai Phong in 1993, Mr. Tuan went to Hanoi to look for his father but found no results. stairs to Long Bien market and lived here until now.

“I collect scrap, my wife sells sugarcane and beans. My husband and I met each other when we were both traveling around the streets to make a living. My husband and I are married and have two children, but our first son is a big man but not as agile as others.

Three years ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Treatment is expensive. There were times when I only allowed myself to rest for a few hours a day, and the rest was to work hard to make money. Now that his wife is healthier, the hardship has lessened somewhat,” Mr. Tuan confided.

After more than 30 years of collecting scrap, Mr. Tuan said that every day he “wins” he earns 200,000 VND, but normally he struggles all night and only gets it. 150,000 VND. Although his health does not allow him to find another job with higher income, he still accepts it.

Slum village in Hanoi and a few-dish meal to get through the price storm days

“In the neighborhood, we are not the only ones picking up scrap, so we try to stabilize our income like that.” It’s good. Some days, when I pick up some, I almost go to work for free. After the Covid-19 epidemic, I thought it would be less difficult, but in reality the situation has not improved much.

Scrap paper that was previously sold for 5,000 VND/kg has now dropped to 2,000 VND/kg. Before every day I earned 200-300,000 VND, now that amount of money is very rare, usually picking it up all night and only getting 150,000 VND,” Mr. Tuan shared.

It’s already difficult, but this time the things collected and sold are cheap. But the cost of living has increased, and his father and son are struggling.

“Lately the price of everything has increased, freelance workers like us work hard but sometimes Spending must always be measured. Vegetables this time from 7,000 VND/bunch increased to 10,000 VND, meat also increased. The father and son’s meal today is only 30,000 VND for both vegetables and meat for the whole day” Mr. Tuan pointed to the frugal tray of rice.

Each month, not including electricity and water, the father and son spent 12 million VND on rent. Life was difficult, so his second son had to stay in the countryside with his grandparents.

Life was difficult and sometimes there was someone in the family who was sick and had to spend a little money Therefore, Mr. Tuan’s family has not saved any valuable assets. He hopes that in the future prices will be balanced so that the lives of poor workers will be less difficult.

Slum village in Hanoi and a few-dish meal to get through the price storm days

Saving is the only way to maintain life

Returning to the motel room after half a day of picking up scrap, Ms. Nguyen Thi Nga (44 years old in Tam Duong, Vinh Phuc) was worried because her recent job was unstable, so the couple was worried. Every day becomes more and more burdensome.

In addition to maintaining life in Hanoi, they also worry about saving money to send home to their two school-age children and their elderly parents in the countryside. Many times they want to leave and return home but thinking about their children, she and her husband tried to hold on.

Miss Nga’s time picking up scrap now takes up almost all of her time during the day. At night, she goes to push a rented cart at Long Bien market. In the morning, she comes back to pick up scraps and sells fruit to earn extra money. Her husband also drives a motorbike taxi to help his wife go to the fields.

“Nowadays, every expense is expensive, so my husband and I tell each other to spend conservatively. Before, we used to eat cooking oil, but now we use lard and rice to cook extra for dinner so we can roast it for lunch in the morning. My family has almost cut down on unnecessary expenses to the minimum so that the yard will have enough money to spend in 1 month.

I have been anemic for a long time, and the cost of buying medicine each month is nearly 1 million VND. Work is difficult this time, so “cut” this amount. Income has not increased but prices of goods have increased rapidly, so saving is the only way to maintain daily life,” Ms. Nga said.< /p>

Once you set foot in the “slum” under the Long Bien bridge, you will understand the struggling lives of the poor to overcome difficult days. Meals show many worries and hardships…