Changing lives

Mr Thuan returns to Bo Trach District

I live on a plain, near the sea, in Hoan Lao Commune. I was born and raised in Phuc Trach village, about 7km from here. The way of life I knew in the past has vanished. We could cast a rod or better still a net into the water and haul it in full of climbing perch and other fish and shrimp. The roots of trees along the riverbank were spotted with shrimp and crab. Fishing boats went all the way from Ba Doon to Troc Market.

But now, after 25 years of army service, I’ve returned to find not a boat in sight, and the river dried up. In places where I used to swim, there is now only soil which seems almost exhausted.

Name: Nguyen Van Thuan

Location: Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province

Where the river used to branch off and my neighbours grew vegetables, motorbikes now ride along those areas.  It’s astonishing.  The last ten years have seen the biggest change in what was this upstream river system.  Sea-food here is now a rare treat.


The plains used to be scattered with corn, each plant with two or three good cobs.  Now not a single cob is in sight.  The corn cannot grow because the soil is eroded away or exhausted.  Instead, the river which was once inhabited by shrimps and crabs now looks like a rock-mining dump, especially in Son Trach Commune.  Everything has changed.  There are only puddles of water, but no corn or rice plants.  Where are they?  Local people are unable to explain it.

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