A story we found this morning at New America Media gives a couple of examples of people who are trying to make due in the city of Hanoi, Vietnam. The country has suffered with high inflation during the last few years, and the people struggle even harder to earn enough to feed themselves.
Nguoi-Viet reporter Jami Farkas introduces us to Nguyen Kim Thu.
Using her facemask to pad the sweat on her suntanned brow, Nguyen Kim Thu looks dispiritedly at her stall, which is still filled with vegetables, as few customers have called since she opened early in the morning.
But the vegetable trader doesn’t dare close the stall, even for a short 15-minute lunch, because she is afraid of missing that rare customer. She buys a small morsel of steamed glutinous rice that she can eat without going anywhere.
''I know there are few customers at noon. But it’s good to grab even one more customer. Vegetables have been selling slowly for several days, and I haven’t made any profit,'' the 45-year-old woman said.
Thu, an employee at an engineering factory in Hanoi, has to sell vegetables for extra income because she has been asked to take days off from work by the company, which is going through tough financial times.
She buys wholesale vegetables every morning at 3 a.m. and resells them at an open-air market on the dusty and crowded pavement on Minh Khai Street in Hanoi.
Thu’s husband, a retired blacksmith, runs a small motorbike repair shop on Bach Mai Street. But he also has trouble earning money as he has no formal training and motorists prefer taking their bikes to branded repair shops.
''I make $2.20 a day on average. On lucky days, maybe $3.30 to $3.85,'' Thu said.
''My husband gets only $1.65. The money is not enough to cover our living expenses in the city. I always have to borrow money from my relatives in order to live.''