I live in the capital city, where there are state-of-the-art things around. The office I am working is small, no air conditioning, no fancy modern equipment like others in this noisy city. Anyway, I am happy to work from morning till late afternoon to build up a small organization and do things that I believe are right and may bring the good to people.
The house I rent is also not a fancy place but cosy enough for silent nights and weekend days that I do not feel like working at the office but rather reading some of my collection instead. This 50 square meter home is really a mess without a woman’s care. And I am happy to live there. Some nights I might sleep during a TV show and wake up finding myself in a covered shelter.
She was cooking by the fire with two children, one boy and one girl. I made a joke and told her that she should get a ten (means perfect) as she has a balance of two sexes of her children. “I married her when she was studying grade six”, her husband smiled. “She was 16”. And now, at 20 she has a family with two cute lovers. The little girl looked clean and neat, not like other children in the Katu village. The brother boy refused to take any cloth. He liked to be naked and roaming around the village with his friends. “I like swimming”, the boy shyly amitted.
The small girl smiled everytime I looked at her. Charming and cute – I must say. She worked in the restaurant and found her life good enough compared to her friends, who had to struggle in rice fields. Her face turned red when I asked her about marriage status. “I am almost 17. Too young to get married”. “Did you go to school?”. “Yes, but I dropped several years ago”.
Life is too tough here in this southwestern area of the country. Many girls decided to accept marriage to Taiwanese men – a current crisis as the press criticized. Many of them became slaves in a foreign country. Another “way-out” is to go to big cities to work in restaurants and karaokes.
Speaking English and French, she is bright and smart. I found myself lost sometime when arguing with her about youth issues. Internet and travel brought her many new friends inside the country in other places around the world. They discuss polistics, development issues, fair trade, global environmental trends, democracy and youth participation. I told her that she and her peers are the “gold generation” and the hope of our country. No doubt! They will soon become leaders of our time.
(to be continued)