In the 20th Century, the West learned a lot about the tenacity of the northern Vietnamese, whose determination repelled the American military and drove out European colonialists. Now comes a story from a village near Dien Bien Phu, where France surrendered in 1954, that shows the enduring power of Vietnamese will.
When recent storms caused flooding in Dien Bien Province, a raging river took out the suspension bridge that separated Sam Lang village in the far northwestern corner of Vietnam from its schoolhouse. Anyone else would have postponed classes, but not the Vietnamese.
Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre published pictures showing what happened next: The father of one of the children grabbed a large plastic bag, instructed his child to get into the bag, and then swam across the river with the bag to deliver his child to primary school. Then he returned and repeated the process for every child in the village.
The children arrived safe and dry. School went on as usual. Despite nature’s inconvenience, the children of Sam Lang walked a day further on the road to prosperity. If you think this event showed unusual commitment to education, you don’t know the Vietnamese.