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Tourism Stories: Nguyen Thi Ba
Located in Viet Nam´s North-Eastern Red River Delta Region, Trang An is a unique natural and cultural landscape and an “outdoor geological museum” hosting immense and diverge wildlife and traditional crafts. Traditionally, local residents are farmers earning minimum for their crops. However, as the destination starting attracting tourists, locals starting working in accommodating tourist needs which helped improve their community´s economic conditions immensely.
Nguyen Thi Ba is a Vietnamese single mother whose life has been enriched by tourist arrivals. In her earlier days, Nguyen worked in cultivation and embroidery but it was never enough to sustain a house and feed her two boys. After a tourism enterprise hired her to row tourist boats across the river, Nguyen started earning enough which enabled her to build a new tiled roof-house and provide a good life for her children. She feels that tourism not only helped her provide for herself and family, but has also enriched her life with knowledge about the field of tourism and different cultures, as well as with good memories she shared with the visitors.
"My name is Nguyen Thi Ba, and this is my story…
I am 57 years old. I was born and grew up in the Truong Yen commune, in the Hoa Lu district, in the Ninh Binh province. My family life was really difficult; my husband abandoned me for another woman when I was three months pregnant of our second child.
Before, it was very hard for me to bring up my children; we lived mainly on cultivating several rice paddies and breeding pigs and poultry, so I had to stay up very late to make embroidery. I only wished to earn enough to bring up my two sons, I had no other dreams.
In recent years, besides the farm work and breeding pigs and poultries, I also row a boat for tourists in Trang An. I saved enough money to build a new tiled roof-house with an area that can protect me from the rain and storms. Above all, my sons both have good lives, so I am very pleased. I am still working so I can save some money in case I get sick.
I row a lot of tourists across this river, some are easy, some are hard to please, but I always tell and encourage other boat rowers to be friendly and hospitable with the tourists. During the trips, we often introduce to our tourists the natural beauty as well as the culture and the history of Trang An. This work is very suitable for me, so I want to work for a long time.
Rowing the boat requires good health, I am afraid that in next few years, when I grow old and somewhat weaker, I won’t be able to work as boat rower and when that time comes, I will work on the farm and look after my grandchildren. My two sons will take good care of me and they will continue this work for me.
This work gave my family a more prosperous life than before. I saved money to build my house.
Before, when I did not row the boat for tourists, my income was mainly from rice paddies; I earned about 300.000 VND a month. But when I was recruited by the Xuan Truong enterprise to work as boat rower in Trang An, I earn from 2 to 2.5 million VND a month. In the festival time, I can earn more than 3 million VND.
Moreover, I meet many people and obtain knowledge in the field of tourism, particularly different cultures. I have delightful and good memories with the visitors."