The children residing on a floating village on the Tri An hydropower reservoir, Dong Nai province, often don’t go to school on the mainland. Some years ago, a monk came to their village and taught them theirABCs and spelling.
|Monk Thich Chon Nguyen and his pupils (Photo: Zing.vn)
In the rainy season, boat-houses drift on the immense Tri An reservoir in Thanh Son commune, Dinh Quan district. The only sound here, is the blowing wind. Rarely, the rumbling engine of a passing motorboat breaks the silence on the surface of the lake.
The classroom of monk Thich Chon Nguyen, 39 years old, is surprisingly on a floating boat. The roof and walls are made from corrugated iron. It’s a special class because the children are of different ages, yet they learn how to spell and write their ABCs together. Nguyen Thi Hue, 18 years old, is the oldest pupil.
“I’m very happy to study writing and many other things. In the past I threw all rubbish into the lake. Now the teacher tells us to keep rubbish in a certain place, not to throw them in the lake,” Hue said.
Monk Thich Chon Nguyen teaches them lessons on morality, discipline, and keeping a hygienic lifestyle. He also provides them with 3 square meals a day.
At the beginning, his class had only 3 children. When people began to understand the benefits of learning and the monk’s kindheartedness, they sent their children to his class. He now has 30 pupils of different ages, including those over 50 years old. To give the students a venue for learning, the villagers contributed money to build a boat-house for his class.
60-year-old Nguyen Thi Nga said, “The monk loves children and teaches them lessons. I’m very happy. When they grow up, they will be able to find a job.”
Monk Thich Chon Nguyen said, 8 years ago, he undertook a pagoda in hamlet 5, Thanh Son commune. It’s an isolated area due to the Tri An hydropower reservoir. It takes local people many hours to drive a motorbike across the forest to reach the township. Children of the floating village are at a huge disadvantage, because they cannot go to school.
Monk Thich Chon Nguyen subsequently decided to open a class there, to help the children.
“I teach them how to spell, but I cannot give them any certificates. I tell them about dignity and behavior. I’ll contact companies to recruit them. It’s a difficult task, but I must do so, otherwise they cannot see their future,” he said.
After the class, the children go back to their floating-houses. The boat-houses don’t stand in the same place everyday, as it depends on water currents. But the floating-class is always in the center of 34 boat-houses to welcome the children.VOVWorld