Published by DEIA, Oct. 6, 2011
I remember my friend’s parents all thrilled explaining me the difficulties that they had to go through just in order to get to school. They had to pass a river by boat, climb some stairs and from there, walk a few kilometers to get to school. This was in the 1940´s in Orio, Gipuzkoa.
I, while they were telling me their story, was thinking that road they had to make, in which little time was there for them to be in school…,, certainly made a difference, the desire of those young people in wanting to learn, very different from ours, that what we wanted was to escape in the obligation of attending class if it was possible.
Something similar to that, but in a much more exaggerated way, are the children who have to struggle, the protagonist of this article. Around 30 children are obligated to cross swimming the river twice a day in the province of Quang Binh, Vietnam, in order to go to school.
The reason is that authorities do not count on enough budgets to construct a bridge that joins both sides and the children they have to cross a river that, depending on the weather, they can have more than three in-depth meters, in addition to an impressive current.
Children, from around 6 to 12 years old, arrive at the side, they get undressed, put their clothing into plastic bags and they jump into the water, not to swim which is impossible, but to let themselves get carried away by the enormous current using the plastic clothing bag as floater, with the hope of crossing the 20 meters that separates them from the other side as soon as possible. Just to let you see how strong that current is that the people from there tried last year to cross the river by boat, but they failed because it ended up getting carried away by the current.
Certainly, it is maddening to see the children in front of the other side of the river, draw the clothing from the bags and to return to get dressed knowing full well that hours later they will have to make the same trip but the other way around.
Why do these children that have to surpass such big difficulties to attend school, do they see anything fascinating in it and, on the other hand, do we associate it to the effort, to work, to obligation? Will it be that always more that the one who wants to the one who can?