A Person Who Has Made a Difference: My Grandmother
By Diem-Trang Nguyen
My grandmother is the one person whom I greatly respect. She had to support her family in many ways. My grandfather was not healthy, so he could not work or do much of anything. It was really hard for my grandmother to earn money by herself so that her family could survive during the Vietnam War. She tried to earn money in many ways so that her kids could go to school. She sold food to students outside the school gate in Saigon. She made cigarette-boxes for a small factory. When my father joined the Vietnam-Cambodian War, she went to the Pagoda everyday to pray for the survival of my father. Finally, my father came back home safely.
My grandmother was clever, too. After the war, the Vietnamese economy was really bad. People could not live in the city, so they had to move to the countryside. She and her family went to Longkhanh to live. Longkhanh was a deserted place that had a lot of vacant land surrounded by hills and mountains. There were no houses and no transportation. She and her children had to walk everywhere. She built a house by herself. Then other people came to LongKhanh, built houses, and started living there. My grandmother planted rice paddies and taught everybody in the village how to plant rice paddies. She went to the mountains to collect firewood for cooking. Because of her strong-mind and determination, her family could survive during that hard time. Her neighbors thanked her for teaching them how to plant rice paddies, which enabled them to survive as well. She wanted us to become helpful people for our community. She always said, “Although we are poor, we have to live rightly, and we should help other people in our community.” She always told us about her hardships. My grandmother was just a simple person, but she was the one who kept the family together during a time of war, and she helped her community during that hard time as well.