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Dòng họ Hà Nhì ham học

Dien BienMen with the Po family half a century ago plowed the fields and threshed rice so that their brothers could go to school and do revolution, women of the Po family today, forty years old, still have a university degree.

During the first 13 years of his life, Po Dan Sinh did not know what was outside the surrounding mountains. The world of the Ha Nhi ethnic boy in Sin Thau village, the westernmost province of Dien Bien in the 1970s, was filled with fear of hunger and fear of losing his life because of bandits’ guns.

But the journey that started on a misty morning at the end of December 1971 changed Sinh’s life, the name of a family, and the life of an entire land. Sinh and his wounded brother took each other to school with the luggage of three dried fish, a few handfuls of rice, and a forest knife. They walked through the forest for five days, following the sound of the stream and the footsteps of the people who went before them. They were hungry and rested, cutting bamboo pipes to pour rice to cook rice, carefully remembering what their father told them, always holding a knife.

Today, looking back at his life at the age of 60, Mr. Po Dan Sinh concludes that his pursuit of knowledge has always been a fight for survival, both literally and figuratively.

Mr. Sinh is the sixth child in a family of 11 siblings, whose father is Mr. Po Po Chu, one of the first five Ha Nhi members of Sin Thau commune. Sinh grew up accustomed to the image of a house always full of lowland soldiers coming to eat, sleep, and hold meetings. The Ha Nhi people at that time absolutely did not speak Kinh, Mr. Chu, in his youth, followed the Viet Minh to fight against bandits, raised them to hide from cadres, and gradually learned a couple of sentences, but told him to write words.

Plowing the fields in the day, holding the torch to go to school at the age of 50, the cadres of Po Po Chu commune came home one night after school to rub their heads and talk to their children. “We’ll have to wait for them to fly. Being illiterate doesn’t make a revolution.” Mr. Chu did not have to wait long to see his children fulfill his wishes.


Mr. Po Dan Sinh truwocs family farm

In the 1960s, Mandarin classes for students in 5 communes of Muong Toong, Muong Nhe, Sin Thau, Chung Chai and Ta Toong began to be opened in the district center, 70 kilometers away. The teachers in the lowland went through the forest to each village to persuade parents to send their children to school, opening the movement “mobilizing ethnic minority children to go to school”, which has remained until these years.

Four years of primary school are reduced to two, but Ha Nhi families in Sin Thau are still afraid, not only because of the remote and dangerous roads, but each child is also a laborer. Chu’s children are fortunate to have a progressive-minded father, but each time only each child can take turns going to school, the rest still have to stay at home to support the family. At the end of two years of school, the older brother went home, the next younger brother could go.

When Mr. Sinh’s four brothers graduated from primary school, one in the army, the other working in the commune and district, Mr. Sinh had to wait until the age of 13 to take his turn. But at the right time at home, Mr. Wait suggested to his son: “You guys go to war, go on a business trip, your parents are old, but the children, or children, don’t go to school anymore”. The boy Sinh was shocked, thought he was sorry but did not argue, only went behind the fence to cry.

That year, the second brother, Po Gia Tu, a wounded soldier in the Laotian battlefield, came home to celebrate the New Year, knowing about it, he was determined to convince. “My father didn’t tell me in the past, being illiterate can’t make a revolution, how can I tell him to quit now.” The boy Sinh walked over and hugged Mr. Chu’s hand, begging: “I will go for exactly 2 years, then come back to help my mother thresh rice, herd buffalo, and pull the plow”. Mr. Chu had to accept, but unexpectedly, had to wait for his son to go to school for nearly 10 years.

Recalling his youth over half a century, Mr. Sinh laughed and said truthfully: “I was impatient to go to school that day, just out of curiosity, but I didn’t have a great ideal of what to do.” Little Ha Nhi stepped out of the mountains of his hometown to go to school, just with that innocent eagerness.

But excitement alone was not enough for Sinh to become the first Ha Nhi boy in the five westernmost communes of the country, completing 10 years of high school. In the early morning of the end of 1971, the Sinh brothers were not the only ones who “torn the forest to find words”. That school year in Sin Thau, there were 37 children brought to the district by their parents, but the number dwindled after each summer vacation and Tet holiday.

Their parents became impatient because the buffalo had no shepherd, the field had no one to reap, and the houses of the same village were already well-prepared and their children did not need to be literate.

Of the 37 children who went to school in the past, only 5 went to secondary school. A little bit of fellow countryman every day, Sinh was homesick, tried to quit several times, but the teachers regretted the bright boy and coaxed him to stay and continue his studies.

In 1976, the high school in Lai Chau province was established, Sinh became the first generation of students in the school, also the only young man of the 5 border communes of Muong Nhe still standing. The road from Tuan Giao to home was 4 times longer. During 2 years of school, Sinh did not return to celebrate Tet. Until 1979, from the district center to Sinh’s house, it was still a land surrounded by mountains, with no roads.

Possessing an excellent diploma with the highest math score in the class, in 1979, the Ha Nhi boy and girl simultaneously received a letter of invitation to study in Czechoslovakia, an invitation to work at the Department of Labor, the Provincial Department of Agriculture, the Department of Industry and Trade. Security, Procuracy and Chamber of Commerce of Muong Te district. But at the same time border war broke out in the North.

Mr. Sinh’s brothers are all working and on duty at units around the district. Mr. Chu, at the age of 70, advises his children to go home “for the sake of the big deal”. “Our commune is in an important place, the people have to evacuate, the job is difficult. On duty, communication with the central government, must rely on knowledgeable officers like you, “said the old man.

Sinh nodded, wrapped up 62 salaries of the District Procuratorate and attached a work call, asked someone to bring it back, pick up a gun and enter a new battle in his life like that.

Today, at the age of 62, Mr. Sinh has retired with the position of Chairman cum Secretary of the Party Committee of Sin Thau Commune, sometimes regretting the bigger plans and dreams that he had to put aside in the past. “It’s a waste, but it’s the times. If you don’t do that, you might not make a career,” he said.

Mr. Po Dan Sinh and his grandchildren

Mr. Po Dan Sinh and his grandchildren

Compared to “Judge Sinh”, director” or “Professor Sinh”, Mr. Sinh said the most satisfying was being called the old man Ha Nhi, with the people keeping the village, keeping the land through the fire and plowing with them in the past. peace session.

Sin Thau people today have the first red-tile roof houses in the westernmost part of the country, know how to dig fish ponds, increase macadamia nut cultivation, focus on raising livestock, encourage their children to go to school, and few people are addicted to opium in the district. , is also the effort and pride of nearly forty years of the old man Ha Nhi, Po Dan Sinh.

As Mr. Sinh and the other men of the Po family soon became famous in their studies, in their communities and in society at large, “going to school” still seemed to be a male prerogative. Not with the Po family.

Po My Le, born in 1982, is the third child in a family of six sisters. Father Le, Mr. Sinh’s third brother, is also from the first generation of Sin Thau people who are literate, encouraging his daughters to go beyond the mountains of their homeland.

In those days, Le’s favorite place to play was the living room of his uncle’s house, where Mr. Sinh kept stacks of books and newspapers. Le opened to see, only distinguishes the reverse thanks to the photo. “What does this say, uncle?” Responding to the eager eyes of his niece, Mr. Sinh smiled and said: “Go to school, then come back and read to your uncle and the whole family”.

When he was 12 years old, his uncle wrote an application to study at the district center. People around whispered “There is a daughter with the surname Po about to go to school”, and are not afraid to say malicious words, “I’m just lazy, I don’t want to plow and herd buffalo, so I applied for school”.

Twenty-three years after Mr. Sinh’s journey down the mountain to school, in 1994, his granddaughter also walked on this same path. Muong Nhe had a dirt road at that time and had been traveling for a season, but there were no horses or carriages. Little Ha Nhi still walked with her uncle for 5 days to reach the district center.

Ms. Le today admits that she has no difficulties with her studies, despite the fact that the five girls in her class often become the target of attacks by boys of the same age. “If you study poorly, you will be despised, if you study well, you will “get married anyway”.

When learning how to write a paragraph for the first time, Le wrote a bunch of silly words to her parents, unable to remember the content. I didn’t know it then, but my mother kept it, but the lines were scribbled like a precious item. At night, I opened it up and asked my husband to read it again.

On the first Tet home, Le held the newspapers on Uncle Sinh’s desk, fulfilling his promise nearly a year ago. Mother Le sat next to her and watched the first daughter in the family know how to read and write, just turned away and wiped her tears of joy. The dream of an illiterate woman in her children came true. But Le did more first than becoming the first Sin Thau woman to finish 9th grade.


Secretary of the Party Committee of Sin Thau Commune, Po My Le, was one of the first women in the region to have a university degree.

Returning to his hometown after all these years, Le’s pride suddenly became a barrier to marriage with men in the area. They are shy and do not like to marry highly educated. In the group of teachers in the lowland at that time, there was a young teacher who was curious about the highest-educated girl in the region, who came to the house to chat, exchange books, and then became charming. It was he who urged her to study further. “If you come up here to teach, you can still do it, cook, wash dishes and take care of your children, what is there to me,” listening to her husband say, Le knew that she had chosen the right person.

The child has just been weaned, in 2009, Le registered to continue high school at the Continuing Education Center, carrying the child with him. At home, she has a mother and a husband, but Le decided to send her children to the district to go to kindergarten early, early to get used to the Mandarin language.

In the eyes of those around, Le once again did a paradoxical thing. This time, she has a husband to support her spirit. For two years alone, when Le held his high school diploma, his son could sing the first Kinh songs in kindergarten.

In 2012, while serving as President of the Fatherland Front of Sin Thau commune, her husband urged his wife to continue studying for the second time. For three years, he studied finance and banking at the National Economics University. He was also a frugal spender, saving a meager teacher salary for his wife to stay in Dien Bien city and pay tuition fees. . In 2015, Le became the first person in the commune to have a university degree in National Economics, but she said, she still has no intention of stopping.

Secretary Sin Thau, Po My Le today became a role model for Ha Nhi girls who are still deciding between staying at home or going to school. Referring to the struggle with old prejudices, Ms. Le smiled and said sincerely: “I have never considered it as an obstacle. That is the motivation”.

In order for teachers and students in remote areas to have better conditions for teaching and learning, the Hope Foundation – newspaper VnExpress continue to receive donations with the goal of building at least 2 new schools in Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien.

Each reader’s cooperation will contribute one more brick to build new schools. All support please send to the program here.

Thanh Lam



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