As the afternoon light drops on the door of a room in Hanoi, Nguyen Van Chu, 73, struggles to sit back and relax. In his worn clothes, the thin, tanned man says his place back home is airy and spacious and that it’s hard for him to get used to the summer heat of Hanoi, especially in the confines of a small, rented house. But Chu refuses to get upset. He lies down, crosses his legs and chills out by singing vong co (southern traditional music which means, literally, “longing for the past”). Chu is one of a group of four people from An Giang Province in Mekong Delta who are staying in Hanoi to cook free vegetarian meals for patients at the Institute of Medical Radiology and Oncology in Hoang Mai district. Every afternoon, Chu drives a motorbike to the hospital and stops at every room to issue tickets for free meals. Anyone, patients, their families and even the hospital staff can get one ticket for a free lunch the next day. After he gets back with the total number of tickets issued, three women in their 60s in the rented house will plan the menu for the next morning. Nguyen… Read full this story
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