Colors of Hoi An V — The Story
Colors of Hoi An
This photo is part of “Colors of Hoi An” — a photography project to highlight the bold colors of Hoi An, Vietnam, juxtaposed with the daily life of the locals. Click here to learn more about “Colors of Hoi An”.
“I ride my bike around the town all day selling sea snails.”
“I sell snails almost every day. I have been selling them for a few decades. At first, I started with mussels. It has been more than 30 years. Now I mostly just sell different types of sea snails depending on the season.”
“This is a passed down job from my great grandpa. Then I got married to my husband who had the same job. My husband buys and clean the snails. I cook and sell them.
“This is a hard job! I have to stay up late. I’m not passing this job down to my kids.”
“Before, I didn’t know which job to do, so I chose this one. Now my children have better jobs such as tailoring and shoe making. There are more jobs available these days.”
“In my situation, you have to love what you do because you need to earn money for a living.”
“5 or 6 years ago, there was a Viet Kieu (A Vietnamese living outside of Vietnam) who gave me $50 USD because he saw me working hard on a hot afternoon. I thought it was $5 USD, so I gave it to my son when he asked. He said “Mom! It is $50 USD!”. I exchanged it for more than 1 million VND. I was so happy!”
Hoi An, Vietnam
In the US this would be equivalent to giving someone about a $400-$500 tip (on the conservative side). For Mai, it was equivalent to a week’s worth of wages for her and her husband combined.