Let me introduce you to Khuyen

P1040134 [320x200]A 22 year old from south of  Hanoi. A very friendly girl with a big smile and bubbly personality. She is the housekeeper in the hotel we are staying in, and is typical of many of the hard working young people here trying to make a life for themselves and family. She wakes at 6:00 am to set tables and help serve breakfast to the hotel guests, she then manually carries all of the bedding and towels up 5 levels of the hotel ( no elevator) and cleans all of the rooms.  She will get a short…. very short break around lunch and then will wash all of the common area floors……… by hand!!  no mop here. It amazes me that she is able to duckwalk the entire hotel and shine the marble floors by hand. The whole time with a big beautiful smile for us when we pass. She then spends the afternoon doing laundry, registering passports, and other duties until 10 or 11 pm. She curls up exhausted on a small mat on the 5th floor beside the water heater and utility area, just to do it all again tomorrow. Days off?…. no social life?.. no.  All for 90.00 a month.P1040146 [320x200] This girl is amazing. She felt obligated to give up her education after grade 12 to make money to help support her parents support her 4 brothers and sisters who are continuing on into university. Sometimes she cries about her life and what she has given up for the family. She wanted to go to school, but she made the decision as the oldest, that it would be better that she help her brothers and sisters, so….  on 90.00 a month, she sends money to help support her family. Damn I admire her. If I was younger and single, I think she would be a real keeper. But sadly for her….  In Vietnam, they are a little hung up about class. Many Vietnamese people look upon her position as lower class and therefore not worthy of being pursued. She understands this and tells me sadly that this is her lot, and she has to prevail for her family. P1040159 [320x200]I cannot imagine what it is like to work an 18 hour day 7 days a week, but she does it. Do not think she is being abused… I have met her employer and talked with others employed by the same owners. It is a good job, and the employers are good people. This is just a part of reality here. It is also a part of what molds the Vietnamese people into who they are. I will talk more, and at length about the Vietnamese psyche at another time, But back to Khuyen.

She has dreams…..  of finding a boyfriend and husband. Being able to go on a date, being able to afford to go to a restaurant. Tonight I saw her face light up with glee as she got a call to join some co-workers in a sister hotel for dinner.

If you stay at the Hong Han Guesthouse, please leave a tip in you room when you check out. This gal is worth every cent you leave her…. If I was younger and not married, I would sweep her away. You young guys take not….   This girl is something special.

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

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