Teachers and students in a village in northwestern Vietnam risk their lives in the flood season as they have to cross a fast-flowing stream by wrapping themselves in a plastic bag to be pulled from one bank to the other on their way to school.
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Though there is a suspension bridge over Nam Po stream, the largest in Sam Lang village in Dien Bien Province’s Na Hy Commune, local residents cannot use it when floodwater annually comes in.
The villagers said that every year the bridge is disassembled during flooding periods and it will be reconnected in the dry season.
Tong Thi Minh, a teacher at a village preschool, recently showed Tuoi Tre newspaper a video clip that she shot using her cellphone during the flood season last year.
In the clip, female teachers and students were seen waiting for their turn to traverse Nam Po stream in a bag.
Local strong men were captured holding the bag’s mouth in one hand and swimming across the water with the other hand despite the powerful currents.
“It’s normal! That’s the only way to cross the stream because no bridge can stand floodwater,” Minh told the newspaper.
“I’ve taught here since September last year. At first, I did not know how to ford the stream so I had to follow what local villagers did later,” she said, adding that she has grown familiar with the crossing method ever since.
According to Minh, many parents in the village also bring their children to school that way to keep their uniforms dry when the area is flooded.