Dai, 82 — Selling Bananas in Hoi An

Dai woman selling bananas Hoi An
Dai, 82 — Selling Bananas in Hoi An
“You should not steal stuff if you work for Amer­i­cans” Đại recounts her days in Hoi An dur­ing the Vietnam/American War.

I can speak Eng­lish. I can speak Kore­an. I can sing the nation­al anthem of Korea. I used to work for the Kore­ans start­ing in 1962. I worked in the kitchen serv­ing the sol­diers food. There were thou­sands of USA and Kore­an sol­diers in Cam Hai Beach (near Ha My Beach). I worked there for 7 years. That’s why I can under­stand a lot Korean.”

Kore­ans and Amer­i­cans worked togeth­er. At that time, when I had some spare time after work­ing at the Kore­an base, I worked for the USA. I washed their clothes and bed sheets, cleaned the house. They paid me decent salary. At that time, my salary work­ing for them in one month equaled to 4 or 5 months work­ing … I cleaned their shoes. I am very good at clean­ing the shoes. The shoes that I cleaned were very shiny. That was why every­body want­ed me to clean their shoes.”

They liked me because I was always hon­est. When­ev­er they went out, I cleaned their room. You should not steal stuff if you work for Amer­i­cans. They hate that. Some peo­ple test­ed you, they put mon­ey and stuff and mon­ey. I know that they test­ed me because they put a lot of mon­ey on the bed. If you were greedy, they would know right away. I nev­er take anyone’s prop­er­ty. If you work for the Amer­i­cans, you have to be on time. I was nev­er late. I had a watch.”

Đại, 82 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam

Dai Selling bananas Hoi An Portrait
“I invite them (tourists) to buy fruit. If they want to take pic­tures of me, they can. If they want just to take pic­tures and don’t buy any­thing, it is ok. I don’t charge any­thing. If peo­ple give me mon­ey, it is good. If they don’t, it’s fine. I am dif­fer­ent. I am not like oth­er vendors.”

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