Once, I accidentally met Mrs. Phong – an old English teacher – at the free class of Duc Hoa church. I have had a deep affection for her from the first time we met. Mrs. Phong – in salt-and-pepper hair – is a modest and friendly woman; She has dedicated a lot of time and energy to the poor children in the remote area named Duc Hoa. 64 years old, Mrs. Phong is still agile and her love for children can not be described in words. Because of the unexpected health problem, she had to quit teaching. However, she is not afraid of driving motorbike over 1 hour from Ho Chi Minh City to Long An Province 6 times per week to teach the children for free at Duc Hoa Parish.
Mrs. Phong’s class is open on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday Morning and Tuesday, Thursday Evening. Her students are at primary, secondary and even high school.
Her life story
Her small daughter is now a medical student at Tan Tao University in Duc Hoa, Long An, where she weekly visits to take care for her daughter. It is the reason that brings her to the free class. Suddenly, I wonder If her concerns for her over 20-year-old daughter are over-protectiveness? If her daughter is passive? Finally, I found my answer after I listened to her life story.
After getting married for a long time, her first daughter named Phuc Loc was born in the great happiness. Two years later, she had suffered a severe shock, her mother had passed away when she had just gave birth to the second baby name Phuc Tho. She had to retire without pension because of weak health. Henceforth, her family had to sell the last valuable property to cure her illness. Her recovery had brought her husband’s bigger financial burden. She told me about her husband with great admiration, and I can see joy in her eyes. Being well aware of family’s difficulties, her beloved daughters are always confident and good at studying. However, the elder sister, Phuc Loc, had suffered gastric tumor, when she was the second-year medical student of Ecole de Kinesitherapie University.
Mrs. Phong’s student
Her beloved daughter
So curious, I intentionally found more information about her family and her daughter. I was so surprised with Phuc Loc’s academic achievement: Excellent student of Colette Secondary School, Le Hong Phong High school for gifted in Ho Chi Minh City; Olympic Gold medal in French Language; City and nation first prize in French Language; Scholar of Lawrence Sting Fund, IDECAF…and many other prizes.
Mrs. Phong’s parents all are bachelor in French Language; Following her family tradition, her daughters both were granted scholarship by French Universities. Phuc Tho achieving Oblates de Lassomplion scholarship is now studying environment engineering in Lille 1 University. Before that, Phuc Loc was also granted scholarship to study medicine in Ecole de Kinesitherapie University. However, because of her serious disease, she had to come back Viet Nam for her treatment.
The free English class
Tan Tao University – New destination
Ecole de Kinesitherapie University had agreed to reserve Phuc Loc’s academic result in 3 years, and she has nearly recovered her health, but Phuc Loc had decided to stay in Viet Nam to study medicine at Tan Tao University. Loc said: “Not studying abroad, but I can find a good education environment at Tan Tao University. The university campus is very quiet, clean and grean; I feel better here. ”
I really admire her – Mrs. Phong – a great mother and a dedicated teacher! Her sincerity and compassion is also a great lesson.