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Gathering Morning Glory

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

A glimpse into the lives of children in rural Vietnam

Water morning glory, water spinach, or rau muong, is the most common vegetable in Vietnam as the tropical climate creates favorable conditions for its growth and the veggie does not require much care. Used to be known as a rustic veggie of the poor, water spinach has become an integral ingredient in some Vietnamese cuisines such as sautéed garlic spinach.

During a road trip from Dalat to Nha Trang, our volunteer team stopped at a roadside stand for lunch. As we leisurely sipped our coffee and savored our noodle soup, a few children emerged from the bushes in the beautiful landscape below. Hannah quickly grabbed the camera to capture this image of two girls waddling in the ravine, bundles of water spinach in their arms. "School ended and the children finally came out to play", she thought.

More children emerged. Some asked for money, some sheepishly stared at the food we were eating, others tried to sell the wild vegetables they just gathered. They were working to contribute to their family’s meager $2 dollar per day income. Often, children are taken out of school or put to work before or after school to help the family. They sell goods, gather wild roots & vegetables, sell lottery tickets, dig for snails in irrigation ditches, dig through trash for recyclables...

There are over 34 million children in Vietnam. With so many Vietnamese families living in poverty, many children face hunger, inadequate health care, homelessness or substandard housing, and lack of access to education. These children have little hope for a brighter future.

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