Đã đọc bài này nhiều lần từ khi anh Minh gửi cho cái link, vẫn thấy cảm động như lần đầu tiên. Đêm hôm qua ngồi nhà cùng những lo âu bão Sandy đến, mình tranh thủ dùng máy tính lúc còn có điện, hí hoáy ngồi dịch sang tiếng Anh bản thô. Vừa dịch vừa rơm rớm nước mắt. Những cô giáo trên vùng cao này chỉ xấp xỉ tuổi mình, có cô còn trẻ hơn. Sống trong khó khăn, khổ sở, thời tiết lạnh, thiếu thốn đủ thứ, xa gia đình, đường đi lầy lội và đối diện với nguy hiểm mỗi ngày, tất cả vì tình yêu con trẻ. Tặng các bạn bài viết rất cảm động này của blogger Han Nguyen Thach (link bản tiếng Việt gốc ở cuối bài, bạn kéo xuống sẽ thấy). Đây là những ghi chép rất thật về những trái tim ấp ám của những giáo viên không quản ngại khó khăn, cắm chốt ở bản xa….
Our car got bogged down in the mud when the trip ahead was still long, so the kindergarten teachers gave us a good two rooms with beddings – how nice! While waiting for the rice to be cooked, we all gathered around the fire and told one another about random things: our childhood memories, the potatoes and cassavas we always had for meals as kids, about the traditional Tet sticky rice cakes, about the childish pranks we pulled. The warm fire brought us – the Only Rice Is Not Enough team members – closer together in just one day.
It was muddy everywhere, no wonder our car got bogged down. I felt guilty looking at the recently cleaned floor, now dirtied with muddy footprints no matter how gently we tried to step. Tomorrow, the teachers probably would have to spend twice as much time to clean the floor.
Meal time. Bowls of rice were passed along the tables, smiles and handshakes exchanged. Our hands were freezing cold – so what? Our hearts and minds were still warm. Stories after stories were told back and forth, revealing the hardships the teachers had to face every day.
They were all very young. The principals and vice-principals were born in 1986, 1987. Some were born in 1990, 1991, so young yet they were willing to go to the furthest, most isolated places to teach. “Staying here for half a year and we’re like men already. While pregnant, we still ride the scooters like crazy. But after giving birth, it actually scared me a little bit.” – one said.
Despite their big bellies during the last months of pregnancy, these teachers still went to class to teach and also cooked for the children every day. I attempted to ride the scooter on the muddy road. Result: I fell several, several times. And every day, these teachers had to ride on this road – sometimes even in the dark, following the talus piles closely and slowly. If they fell, they would fall towards the mountain. Well, it would definitely hurt, but would also keep them alive. On the other side of the road, a dark abyss was waiting in the menacing silence.
One teacher, while going back to visit her children, got into an accident and passed away. “We have children probably only for their grandparents!” The joke was told with a smile, yet it felt like a punch straight to the heart.
A border patrol got married to a teacher, and he was assigned to a position all the way in Tinh Bien, An Giang – over a thousand miles away. All his money was saved up for the trips to visit his wife. Both were very young, and they were still childless after several such trips. At the teachers’ living quarters, every room’s wall was filled with babies’ photos, chubby and adorable.
Along the border, only teachers at a commune with border defense post are eligible for a supplemental allowance of 50% of their salary – although a border commune is always a border commune, with or without a defense post.
– How come you feed the children so late today?
– Ah, if they eat too early, they’ll be hungry too soon!
It was colder than usual, some students didn’t go to class, and so the portion looked better. Each kid held tightly the bowl in the left hand, spoon in the right hand, scooped every last bit out of the bowl of rice and meat in a blink of an eye. Who even needed to be tempted to eat?
Tomorrow it would be even colder. The teachers, as usual, would follow that zigzag road which was as slippery as an ice patch, to reach the furthest places, to bring each and every kindergarten kid to class.
The Kindergarten school Sin Co, last year.
About 30% of the teachers who were assigned to teach at such remote places would go back to the city right away. Another rather large percentage would take the job, teach for half a day, and go home in the evening. Only those with the biggest hearts, with the greatest love for the children here would stay.
For one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten years, and even more. Who knows?
Written by Han Nguyen Thach. Original post: Xin cám ơn tình yêu . Translated by Nghi Nguyen.