The happy people of the Mekong Delta

I am a South African journalist and English teacher, currently based in Hồ Chí Minh City.

I have been living here since May, 2013.

I am an avid traveler and enjoy learning about other cultures.

While living in South Korea, I visited Việt Nam  for a holiday.

I fell in love with its weather, good food, cheap prices and friendly people.

I felt a real connection with the busy, bustling city that is Hồ Chí Minh City, and I decided to make it my home.

Nazley_Omar

Nazley Omar is a South African journalist and English teacher, currently based in Hồ Chí Minh City

The city is a metropolis on the move.

It has changed so significantly in the past decades, which is a real testament to the strength and resilience of Vietnamese people.

I love the organized chaos and craziness of the traffic.

Việt Nam allows expats to enjoy the comforts of the West, while also being able to immerse yourself in Asian culture.

I really enjoy the good climate, cheap prices and ample job opportunities for expats.

The cons include pollution, the unsanitary conditions of the streets, and petty crime.

When I experience another country I enjoy exploring the big cities, but my favorite thing to do is explore smaller towns that are more off the beaten track.

Last August, my mom and I had a three-day trip to many different cities and towns in the Mekong Delta.

We organized a home-stay with a Vietnamese family.

That night we had a lot of free time, so we went to a coffee shop and met a young lady, Phương.

Phương invited my mom and me to her house, where her mom had prepared one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever had.

Phương and her family were warm and welcoming.

Even though her family could barely speak English, they radiated warmth and were willing to share the little food they had with us.

We enjoyed several types of food, vegetables, and rice.

It seemed that they gave us everything they had.

We tried to offer them money for the food that we ate, but they did not want to accept this.

It was a true reflection of the generous nature of Vietnamese people.

We were really overwhelmed by the warm, welcoming nature of the people we encountered in the Mekong Delta.

Many people in the region earn very little and live below the poverty line, but they were some of the happiest, nicest people I have ever seen.

When I meet someone, I can recognize how happy they are in just a few minutes.

In the Mekong Delta, women ride bicycles to the market at 6:00 am, and children laugh and sing on their way to school.

It’s quite different from Hồ Chí Minh City, where people are always on the rush.

It seems that city dwellers don’t stop to appreciate a day.

But in the Mekong Delta, everyone we talked to while we were on the way to the market said ‘hello’ and smiled to us.

Men and women sit outside their houses having coffee together at 6:00 am, laughing and talking.

They seem to be satisfied with their lives.

By NAZLEY OMAR (*)

(Interviewed by QUỲNH TRUNG)

Source: Tuổi Trẻ News

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