Portrait of Ms Ca, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

Portrait of Ms Ca

This is Ms Ca. Born sometime in the 1930s (she can’t remember the exact year), I met her sitting in the shade of a cashew tree, sheltering from the midday sun. She was taking a rest, having carried a 25 kilogram woven bamboo basket on her back, loaded with freshly picked leaves, from the forest.

Portrait of Ms Ca, Vietnam

Ms Ca, whom I met sitting under a cashew tree in Binh Thuan Province

Despite her weathered appearance – the crease lines on her face indicating a lifetime spent squinting in the southern sun – her voice was mellow and smooth, and her manner easy and polite. Ms Ca (a name I’d never heard before), has lived in this dry, sparsely populated and, to my eyes, very beautiful, part of Binh Thuan Province all her life. Her home lay at the foot of an arid hillside in the distance.

Ms Ca's house, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam

Ms Ca’s home, at the foot of an arid hillside near where we met

Each of her parents came from a different one of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups, neither of which I recognized. The leaves she was carrying are used for pig and goat feed, of which a small herd of the latter sat with her under the tree.

Herd of goats accompanying Ms Ca, Vietnam

A herd of goats cross the river, following behind Ms Ca

Tied around her waist was a small, plastic bottle of  clear, rice liquor, which she washed back before walking barefoot to bathe in the river. After returning refreshed, Ms Ca continued on her way, with her basket of leaves on her back and goats following behind.

The river where I met Ms Ca, Vietnam

After a refreshing dip in this river, Ms Ca continued on her way


        •  Bac Ha Sunday Market 

        •  Ho Citadel 

        •  Hoi An Lantern Festival 

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  1. Stuart says:
    March 2, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Nice article. Keep them coming!

    1. Tom says:
      March 2, 2016 at 11:10 AM