Don Ganh — Colors of Hoi An
Every morning Hà travels from her home in the countryside of Hoi An, Vietnam to sell Mì Quảng (a noodle dish) at the Hoi An market. She transports everything in baskets suspended on either side of a bamboo pole, called “đòn gánh” in Vietnamese.
Carrying everything she needs using a đòn gánh, Hà is able to bring her self-contained mobile restaurant straight to the shops where her customers work. It’s a functional design, beautiful in its simplicity, and a symbol of the hard-working Vietnamese woman.
“This is Quảng noodles. It is very easy to make Mì Quảng for me. I buy the noodles from the market and I cook the soup at home. In the morning, I get up at 3:00 AM to cook. It is very heavy to carry everything, but I am used to it. At first, it hurt my shoulders so bad. However, it just lasted for a few days and I got used to it. Now I have a backache. If I used a cart, I’d have nowhere to put it.”
“I have been selling the noodles for about 13 years. An old woman in my neighborhood saw that I didn’t have a job, so she taught me this job. She felt sorry for me because I stayed at home and didn’t have any money. She accompanied me for a few days. Very kind! I carried everything, she followed me and prepared the food for customers. She was not my family member, but very nice to me. She taught me how to cook the soup. She had a good heart!”
“Many people take pictures of me. I don’t why people just keep taking pictures of me. Foreigners just want to take pictures of me because I look strange while carrying the baskets. They are just interested in the baskets.”
We gave Hà a large print of this photo which is now displayed in her house.
Hà, 44 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam
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”.
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Interested in “Don Ganh” click here to buy a print. Proceeds will help support our project “Vietnam The People” as well as going directly back to the people we photograph. Thank you for your support!