Children in Vietnam are Put Inside Plastic Bags to Cross Raging River to Go to School

In Huoi Ha village, Vietnam, children need to cross a river to go to school. And there are many times when the kids have to be placed inside plastic bags and carried by their dads across the river!

Photo credit: Thinking Humanity

During dry season, the children can cross the river more easily because makeshift bamboo bridges connect the two sides. But when the rainy season brings heavy rains, the river also swells and often sweeps away the bamboo bridges.

While the residents tried using rafts to ferry the children across, many capsized and dunked the children into the river because the current was too strong; plus, the rapids push the vessel in various directions.

Photo credit: Thinking Humanity

Eventually, the villagers found a solution to their problem. Because grown-up men could cross the river, even in chest-deep areas, dads and uncles decided they would be the ones to ferry the kids across. To make sure the kids don’t get wet and that they can be easier to transport, they are placed inside plastic bags that are made to float on the river and carried by a grown-up man.

Photo credit: Thinking Humanity

Though the dads mean well, placing the kids inside plastic bags pose another risk. The oxygen inside the bags are limited and there are no tanks attached; thus, the kids have to breathe slower and hold their breath at times, praying their dads would reach the other side faster.

Photo credit: Thinking Humanity

Moreover, if the river could carry away rafts and bamboo bridges, that easily means it could also sweep away the dads and the kids in plastic bags.

Photo credit: Thinking Humanity

Muong Cha District chairman Nguyen Minh Phu admits that the plastic bag trick is commonly used in the area; however, he explained that this is only done when the water level was too high for the kids to cross the bridges.

Photo credit: Thinking Humanity

But the river crossing is not the only problem for the kids. After they made it safely to shore, they have to trek 5 hours in slippery terrain to finally reach their school. Thus, many choose to simply stay in the schools for the entire week, going home only during weekends.

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