Checkpoint 3

I look for her every time we come around the bend.

She is as constant as a clock, all parts, moving in rhythm, in the same direction.

Her conical nón lá shading her from the nonexistent sun, beige coveralls signaling her role, bamboo woven straw broom in hand.

But it is her silver, dented, 20-gallon trailer/cart/mini garbage truck that is most remarkable, perched upon three wheels, three axles, it carries the story of this adorable street.

Stretching from ‘sewage smell corner’ some 500 m to the ornate dragons that make up an iconic photo op, this street is her responsibility.

And she owns it.

By the time we pass her every morning, she has been hard at work. Her dented silver trailer/cart/garbage truck is full. A collection of leaves and branches, plastic garbage bags, the morning’s trash is all here.

Good morning

Each piece of trash says


I imagine she responds

I don’t know whether the relationship is an adversarial one

But I like to imagine her accepting it as all part of a day’s work.

And whether she likes her Trash friends or not, it’s clear she accepts and loves her work.

Each piece, every leaf, a testament.

Vietnamese do not shy from effort. When there is work at hand, they get it done.

We pass this way often. So often that we take it for granted.

It’s a charming street, dotted with restaurants, coffee shops, lined with trees. And in a city of 9 million people it has no right being as clean as it is.

So, this woman, who does her job so well each day, probably has no idea to whom her work matters,

and perhaps doesn’t even care.

But we can assure her that she is seen,

and it does.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: