Saturday, February 22, 2014

District 11, Saigon

While filming today, 9 year old Le Phuoc curiously watched on and asked questions about our camera gear. While the camera was rolling, he would stand behind it and make sure all was running smoothly. While I was rolling film with a long lens (a task which can require some stamina after a while), Phuoc tried to take pics with my other small camera which I had wrapped around my shoulder.

While the camera was still rolling, he beckoned me to join him. He kept pointing around the corner. Unfortunately, I was busy working, so I had to wait while he frantically tried to convince me to come around the corner. Finally, the last frame was framed and shot. I went around the corner to join him.

Sitting around the corner was his brother. The only way to describe the site, heartbreaking. The 13 year old boy sat without pants while his mother fed him food. She described how they lived in a rented house by the river. She said the place was dirty and often infested with mosquitos. Through the interview which we had just been filming, I had learnt that in the monsoonal seasons, rainwater from the canal that sat adjacent to the rented family home would often flood; filling the place with putrid rotting rubbish and plastic refuse. The boys name was Le Ngoc Chai. He was both deaf and dumb. His mother said that he was like a stone which urinated and defected. His mother fed him when she saw fit because he was unable to signal when he was hungry. The family received no concessions from the state or non government organisations.

Ngoc Chai's family obviously love and care for him. It is so sad to see a fellow human in such a sorry state.

Le Phuoc, 9.
Le Ngoc Chai, 13. 

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