(VOVworld) – Hon Khoai island is off the coast of Vietnam’s southernmost province of Ca Mau. This year Tet, Vietnam’s traditional lunar new year festival, will be full of happiness for naval soldiers on the island, particularly lieutenant Nguyen Tho Truong, because he can see his wife and son. Lan Anh reports:
As Tet approaches quickly, the soldiers at radar station 595 of Naval Zone 5 are doing extra work to fulfill their mission and prepare for the holiday. Phan Thi Men says this is the first time she has stayed with her husband for Tet: “When I set foot on the island I found the soldiers very friendly and united. Although life here is difficult, they seem happy and determined to fulfill their task. I like life here and hope to visit my husband again in one or two more years. Although Tet is still to come, the soldiers have been busy making the necessary preparations.”
Men and her husband from Thai Binh province married 17 years ago but for most of that time lieutenant Truong has lived and been at work during Tet on Hon Khoai island. Truong said as there are no women on the island the soldiers have to do everything by themselves. Although the meals and trays of fruits the soldiers prepare don’t look as good, they are filled with their emotions: “Here we have some fruits that can not be found on the mainland such as Goi fruit to be placed on the altar. People often wrap Chung cakes with Dong leaves but here we use banana leaves. We also grow orange, coconut, custard apple, and sapodilla on the island.”
Truong’s happiness at reuniting with his wife and his 5-year-old son is shared by his comrades. Their closeness eases their homesickness. Men said she never thought of traveling thousands of kilometers to visit and stay for Tet with her husband and his comrades. She said that as she has to raise two boys on her own she misses her husband a lot whenever Tet comes: “I feel really lonely seeing other women with their husbands on any occasion. His calls at Tet really help to comfort us. He often hoped that one day I would bring my sons to visit him.”
5-year-old Tai Anh anxiously opened the box of gifts they prepared for his father: “This place is my father’s island. I brought him a box of lots of food. Here’s a birthday cake, candies, and jellies. I will celebrate Tet here this year.”
The gifts Men brought to her husband are the stories of their relatives back home: “My gifts are stories about our children’s studies. Our parents stay healthy and life is much better than before. I also brought him a specialty from Thai Binh.”
Lieutenant Truong is happy to see his wife and son: “I’m happy to celebrate Tet here with my wife and son. Their presence keeps my mind on my duty. I hope that my comrades will also see their families next year.”
Life is full of challenges and difficulties but naval soldiers always remain steadfast to defend the nation. The love of their family and relatives back home give them the strength and determination to accomplish their mission.