Vietnam’s ladies of the river
“Before, when I did not row the boat for tourists, my income was mainly from rice paddies; I earned about 300.000 VND a month. But when I was recruited by the Xuan Truong enterprise to work as boat rower inTrang An, I earn from 2 to 2.5 million VND a month. In the festival time, I can earn more than 3 million VND”.
I am 57 years old. I was born and grew up in the Truong Yen commune, in the Hoa Lu district, in the Ninh Binh province. My family life was really difficult; my husband abandoned me for another woman when I was three months pregnant of our second child.
Before, it was very hard for me to bring up my children; we lived mainly on cultivating several rice paddies and breeding pigs and poultry, so I had to stay up very late to make embroidery. I only wished to earn enough to bring up my two sons, I had no other dreams.
In recent years, besides the farm work and breeding pigs and poultries, I also row a boat for tourists in Trang An. I saved enough money to build a new tiled roof-house with an area 100 m2 that can protect me from the rain and storms. Above all, my sons both have good lives, so I am very pleased. I am still working so I can save some money in case I get sick.
I row a lot of tourists across this river, some are easy, some are hard to please, but I always tell and encourage other boat rowers to be friendly and hospitable with the tourists. During the trips, we often introduce to our tourists the natural beauty as well as the culture and the history of Trang An. This work is very suitable for me, so I want to work for a long time.
Nguyen Thi Ba, Vietnam