Images: Life in the last fishing village on the Saigon River

VietNamNet Bridge – For the past 40 years, residents of a poor fishing village have been working and going about their daily life peacefully, near the Binh Loi Bridge on the Saigon River. 

The village section is located in Ward 13 in Binh Thanh district, between the old and new bridges of Binh Loi. It is surrounded by bustling streets and modern buildings.

The village is formed by small timber boats, which are covered with canvas and metal pieces.

According to Mrs. Ngo Thi Liem, 82 years old, the oldest resident of the village, the village was formed 38 years ago by a group of people from the northern province of Vinh Phu who settled in Saigon in 1954.

The fishing village is getting smaller because some households have left their boat houses to buy houses on land. At present the village has only three families, totaling eight people.

They earn their living by catching fish on the Saigon River and its tributaries. They row along the river to drop nets.

According to the fishermen here, they still catch fish the old way: using fishing nets. They have never used electricity for catching.

"We can catch a lot of fish when the water is shallow, so catching fish depends on the water level," Ai says.

On average, each day a fisherman earns about VND100,000 ($5) from selling fish. If they are lucky, they can earn up to VND200,000 ($10) a day.

"Now the river is more polluted, so we catch less fish. Our life is so much harder," says fisherman Nguyen Van Minh, 52.

“Income from this profession is unstable and the life is so difficult but we do not have to compete with anyone. The outside world is noisy but our work and our life is very peaceful," Minh says.

Nguyen Van Chuc, 57, says the river is sometimes too aggressive. At that time, it is dangerous to stay on the boat.

"My house was connected to the power system four years ago, but we only use power for lighting at night," says Nguyen Van Chung, 50.

In the village, Only Mr. Chuc’s family has a TV.

When the water is at a lower level, fishermen are busy catching fish. When the water is high, they take time to mend nets while waiting for the water to recede.

Mrs. Liem now lives with his son’s family. She still works every day selling fish at the market, cooking, washing, and repairing nets.

Liem wishes her family could relocate on land but they cannot afford to buy a house.

Nguyen Van Chuc is a well-known fisherman in Saigon. In addition to fishing, he is known for saving people on the river. For the past 39 years, he and his wife have saved nearly 300 people who had an accident or tried to commit suicide.

Nguyen Tien Dat, 14, is the youngest resident of the fishing village. Dat quit school at the age of eight to become a young fisherman.

Minh and Chung are the younger brothers of Chuc. They say they are poor, so they live alone.

Nguyen Thi Hinh, Chuc’s wife, says her family has been connected to the Saigon River for nearly 40 years. Their five daughters have got married and settled on land.



fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

The former boat house of Mr. Liem’s family, which was damaged and has been left on alluvial ground.


 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Nguyen Ngoc Ai, 47, casts a nest at noon, before the water rises.


 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Fisherman Nguyen Van Minh.

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

When the water is high, Mr. Nguyen Van Chung takes time to mend nets while waiting for the water to recede.


 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Mrs. Liem, 82.

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Mr. Chuc on the boat that was presented by a press agency to save lives in 2013.

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Nguyen Tien Dat, 14, is the youngest resident of the fishing village. 

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Minh and Chung are the younger brothers of Chuc. They say they are poor, so they live alone.

 fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

Nguyen Thi Hinh, Chuc’s wife, says her family has been connected to the Saigon River for nearly 40 years. Their five daughters have got married and settled on land.

fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river

 

fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river 

Mrs. Liem receives a bag of rice, a gift from a charity society for the poor residents of the Saigon River.

 


Zing/VNN


fishing village in saigon, floating life, saigon river
 
*
*
*
  Send