THE STORY OF MRS. MINH
Mrs. Minh was born in Quang Tri province in 1956 to an impoverished family. She married in 1977 and is a proud mother of 4 children.
She joined the project in 2016 as part of a club of 30 members from Tan Duc village who had requested to join the project on a training only basis as project funds had already been allocated for the year. Although she did not receive the materials that full participants of the project usually receive, she was very happy when she joined the project. “Although I did not receive materials, I was involved in training courses, provided with technical documents, and ROP officers, District officials, and Commune officials visited my orchard to check diseases on pepper trees. They guided me to use appropriate materials to take care of pepper orchard well”. She added, "In the past, I spent too much time doing gardening, following what people do and I think it is right, but in fact those things are wrong. There are things that are no longer suitable for taking care of pepper in the current period. After being instructed by ROP staffs, I had a way to save more time, have more free time to take care of my children, take care of my health, support other members in the club as well as the community where I live”
Thanks to the technical support of ROP, Ms. Minh was very successful in restoring her pepper orchard. Her family had 500 pepper trees, before participating in the project, the average yield was 0.8 kg/tree. After nearly 3 years of good technical application of ROP, average yield increased by 50% to 1.2kg/tree. “Increased productivity is already clear but what I am most excited about is that the quick death disease and the slow death disease has decreased. In the last years, 6-7% of my trees died of those diseases, now that number is reduced to 1-2%," she added.
For Mrs. Lan, balancing gardening jobs and fulfilling responsibilities to her family is something that is important to her. In 2006 her husband felt that his health was in decline, but he simply wrote this off as an expected outcome from the years of heavy labor he put into his farm and the hardships he endured as a soldier in the war, so he did not go to the hospital. In 2008 when he weakened to an alarming level, his wife persuaded him to see a doctor. When she was called by the Doctor to announce the results, she seemed to die, she was speechless. He had terminal cancer. With the hope that her husband’s cancer could still be cured, she decided to spend whatever money was necessary for treatment. This time was extremely difficult for her because she had to raise 4 children and make sure they studied seriously, take care of her husband, and take care of the family pepper orchard along with their other crops as it was the main source of income for her family.
In their free time, her children supported her mother in gardening, weeding, harvesting pepper and taking care of their father. She was always there to take care of her husband. If he was sad and lost, she comforted him. She tried to give him the best care as it was incomprehensible to her for her children to have no father and for her to lose the mental and emotional support of her trusted partner of over 30 years. Her efforts lasted only for 2 years. In 2010, her husband died, the family lost its main labor, the children no longer had a father. She has to take care of all of her family and farm work by herself.
Mrs. Minh did not let her story end there. It has been 9 years since her husband died, she alone raised her children to study. Now they are mature, have a stable job, but each one lives in one place. Her dedication to instilling the value of education led her 3 daughters to all become educators (two are teachers, one is a principal of a preschool), while her son followed in his father’s footsteps in joining the military as an officer. She still works alone but still relishes time with her grandchildren as she helps her children raise them. Love is immense, taking care of children, then taking care of their children, then worrying about farming, taking care of pepper orchard, bringing stable income to the family. Her heroic willpower is admirable yet for her she sees her accomplishments as simply what any good mother would do for her family, "I don't mind doing anything, housework, taking care of my husband and children, working in the fields ... as long as it can help my family be healthy, have a stable income to care for their children to study, have money to save when I am old.” .
The end of 2018, with funding from Rotary China, we decided to support her with the material package for pepper trees with the best quality. With all that she has overcome, she still dreams of a better life and has ambitions for her farm along with it. When talking about the impact of the trainings on her farm, she stated, “Increased productivity is already clear, but that’s not my expectation, I want productivity to increase to 1.8 - 2kg / tree.” We will work with her to fulfill her wish. Mrs. Minh has done everything within her power to improve her family’s future and she is exactly the type of person who we try and support in overcoming their hardships.