Tet far from home for road construction workers

Tet is a precious time of the year for family reunions, but dozens of construction workers on the Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway will be missing out this year.

Tet far from home for road construction workers
Bulldozer driver Phan Hoa Hiep (right) plans to spend Tet at the construction site of the Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway in order to make sure the road is completed in 2020. — Photo tuoitre.vn

They will be spending the Lunar New Year on the road next to bulldozers and concrete mixers to complete the decade-long wish of millions of Mekong Delta residents – to complete the expressway this year.

48-year-old Phan Hoa Hiep was trying to fix a bulldozer that broke down just hours before the afternoon he was scheduled to flatten the ground for the Than Cuu Nghia section of the expressway.

Standing next to the huge machine under the scorching sun, he looked up at the crowded, noisy lines of motorbikes and cars on the adjacent HCM City-Trung Luong Expressway carrying millions of migrants from HCM City to their hometowns for Tet.

“I'm going to work for a few more days and then go home to burn incense for my last mother and father. Just one day off and than I'll be back at work,” Hiep told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
“I will be on standby all the time, so if there is an emergency and someone needs a day off, I will go straight to work. My house is close anyway”.

Hiep is a professional bulldozer operator and has been doing the job across the country for more than 10 years. But this is the first time he has worked on such a massive project which he first heard about when he was a rookie driver.

The 51km Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway is a key national infrastructure project connecting HCM City with the underdeveloped southwest region. Investment for the project is expected to cost more than VND12.6 trillion (US$536.1 million). Construction of the expressway first started in November 2009 but has been on and off for the last decade mainly due to capital shortages.

Hiep is proud to be working on the last sections of the road.

“Even if I have to sacrifice my Tet holiday to be at the construction site of a project that dozens of millions of western folks are looking forward to, I’m very willing to do so,” he said.
But not all workers live as close as Hiep.

 

Nguyen Quoc Dat said that his hometown was in the north central region where winter was cold and wet instead of sunny like in the south.

“My heart is restless as I miss the cold breeze, the spring drizzles, and spending nights with friends by the boiling chưng pot,” he said.

“I really wanted to go back to my family this Tet, but everyone (at the site) has agreed and cheered each other up to work on the mission to finish the road in 2020.”

While Dat will be spending his first Tet away from home, guard Le Phu Thieu is used to welcoming the new year with colleagues rather than family and friends.

69-year-old Thieu said he had not returned home forTet for the last four years because of his job – which was to look after the warehouse and machinery.

“I miss my wife and children, and my nephews and nieces. But I’m old enough and it’s fine to stay here for another Tet so that other workers who have young children can go home,” he said.

“If I leave everything here and go home, then something could get lost which might slow down the project. I would feel so guilty and wouldn't be able to face the folks here.” — VNS

Overseas Vietnamese feel Tet’s warmth far from home

Overseas Vietnamese feel Tet’s warmth far from home

Returning home to be with your family for Tet (Lunar New Year) is a wonderful feeling, but not all Vietnamese people working and studying overseas can come back for the festive season.

Migrant workers welcome Tet far from home

Migrant workers welcome Tet far from home

Phan Thi Tu, a textile factory worker in Binh Tan District, HCM City, has welcomed Tet (Lunar New Year) far from home for three years, and 2020 will be no different.

 
 

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