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(Turning into prose): Little stories of Hanoi

(Turning into prose): Little stories of Hanoi

The holding hand of a child following her mother - a vendor; the spontaneous smiles of the children or the smile of a coal salesman when having a meal cooked by his wife are the small stories of Hanoi recorded by photos.

Human of Hanoi is a group of 20 youngsters gathering together to go through all the corners of Hanoi to take photos of the simple beauty of this city as well as the nice stories and people. They will show people about some pieces of life that exist around us but are hidden by the busy, crowded and fast life pace.
 
Hanoi young is more and more colorful their lives with the vitality activities together.
Hanoi young is more and more colorful their lives with the vitality activities together.
 
“We spend several hours every Sunday to meet each other, to share our experiences which we gained in order to get better photos and stories. We then divide the group into smaller groups to go to different places for taking photos. However, in fact, we take photos whenever we can, when we see a smile, a glint or anything which is not so significant.”  Said Tran Quan Tuan – the leader of Humans of Hanoi.
 
Some simple images, some small stories of Humans of Hanoi include the positive confidence of a coal salesman; the loneliness of an old woman right at her home; the worry of a mother or the innocence of the children that make audiences think about something meaningful about the surrounding pieces of life.
 
A young girl shares her story: “the first time I fell in love with a boy is when I was in 5 grade. I liked a classmate. At that time, almost every girl in my class were interested in him. I every day imagined that one day I will be the bride and he will be the groom. I always saw him having lunch and waited to finish the meal at the same time with him. When he ate so slowly and was fined, I did the same way so that I could stand with him. In the class, I often looked at him stealthily and felt ashamed. My particular feeling for him lasted until the end of 5 grade and ended when I was a 6 grade student. When I started the first year at high school, I met him again and told him about that story. We keep being normal friends until now. By the way, he was born at the same day, same month and same year with me at the same hospital”.
 
With the sunshine smiles, they tell about their memories.
With the sunshine smiles, they tell about their memories.
 
Other interesting conversation with a man: 
  • How long have you been doing this job?
  • Not long, just half of the lifetime. 
A girl from German who has been travelling to 21 nations shares: “the important thing is not the places you come but the people you meet. I’ve met with lots of wonderful people. Overcoming many losses and hurt, people will have a more realistic views on life, but they cannot deprive their hope and dream”. 
A conversation with a disable man: 
  • Do you have any wish? 
  • No. I don’t believe on it any more.
  • Is there anything that you expected the most?
  • I want to be able to walk as other people. I also want to have a wife so that we can lean on each other in our old age. Just simple like that. 
A picture talks about the depression of a mother with her child suffered from congenital heart disease. At present, the child has recovered and get healthier. The photographer – a member of Human of Hanoi is the one helping the child to receive a free and successful surgery.  Finally, the wish of the mother came true. She said: “my daughter was diagnosed to be suffered from congenital heart disease. Whenever she cries, her body turns black and blue.  My family is poor, my husband always drunks and he left me when he knew about the disease of our daughter. No money and no identification papers, mu unique way is to carry her to Hanoi with a hope of meeting someone taking a pity on us. I have nothing but this maternity love”. 
 
Many other little stories revealed in Hanoi like:
“Raising a child cost three time more expensive than an adult. To raise her up, we have only the business of this stall for drinks and my daughter become the seller since she was just 10 days old”. 
 
The vendors, who you can easy to meet in the streets of Hanoi 
The vendors, who you can easy to meet in the streets of Hanoi.
  • In the past, I was one of the youngsters carrying soil to build Thanh Nien Street which appears as today. 
  • What is your most memorable memory about Hanoi?
  • The peace. Hanoi in the past is very interesting. There is no car to mourning as today. A family with a member passing away had to hire horse wagon to carry the dead body to Van Dien Cemetery. The affluent families hired 2 horses while the poor hired only 1 horse. All the people travelling on the road stopped and took off their hats, bowed their heads to express their respect to the dead body until the wagon go far away. This ritual does not exist anymore.  
  • When getting married, the best things in my mind is that we come to live with each other in a house and our thinking shall be much more different from before. By the way, how old are you? (The bride askes the photographer).
  • I am 17
  • Well, so you may not understand.
  • Some sincere confidences of a boy selling candy: 
  • Leaving hometown for Hanoi to earn money in this way, I am tired but quite happy as I can be closer to human and to the social. In my hometown, life is so boring. We have to money to school. I didn’t know what to do then, so I followed my uncle to this city to earn some money. 
  • About being violent, is it true for you?
  • Some customers often ask so and I denied, but walking for the whole night without selling out all the candies, I was shouted at. If I was lazy to do the job, I can be hit. 
  • How can I help you!
  • I also don’t know. You may do nothing to help me as I have nothing to so but selling candies. I even don’t know what I will do when I grow up. When I am too mature to selling candy, I likely to work as a worker at a restaurant.
  • Since she passed away, I have to sleep alone. It’s so cold. 
  • Everyday, she walks here to relax as nowadays, neighbors does not have close relation to each other. 
  • In your opinion, what is the most difficult thing when becoming a female architect?
  • Difficulties? I haven’t thought about it. I only think of the buildings I am going to design. 
  • I work all day with coal, it is quite a hard job but all the tiredness disappears when I come back home and have dinner with my family. 
“The idea of taking photos about Hanoi comes naturally and accidentally with the youngsters who are into taking and also wishing to do something significant to the society. Talking about the purpose of Humans of Hanoi, Quang Tuan – a member of this group said: “bringing the stories and the images to the community in the simplest way with an aim to make Hanoi culture popular among Vietnamese as well as international friends”.
 
At first, these youngsters only want to take nice photos and significant stories about their surrounding life to share to their friends, but they don’t think they receive much positive response from the community like that. That has become the motivation for them to keep developing their non-profit project. 
 
“It is not difficult but not so easy to take a good photo or to listen to a nice story. One of the most important things to do is putting impression on the character and gain their belief so that they are willing to share. We are not successful all the time, actually. For many time, we took the nice photos already, but the main character refused to share their stories or sometimes they even don’t let us take their photos” – shared the project manager with his secrets of making character smile and agree to share their stories. 
 
Have been taking photo about Hanoi for many years, the most memorable story for Quang Tuan is the one about a boy living under Long Bien Bridge. He said that despite living in a poor family, his stories are always positive with a strong belief in life. Especially, before finishing any stories, he always says that: “latter, when I become rich, I will help all the people, those who are as poor as me now”.
Some poor children have to live at the feet of Lone Bien Bridge.
Some poor children have to live at the feet of Lone Bien Bridge.
 
By meeting many people with different situations and stories, the youngsters of Humans of Hanoi not only get richer experience in life. But also they take pity and are worried about the characters they met with struggled conditions. They want to give a hand but for many times, they don’t know how to help and which is the most effective way to help. Leader Tran Quan Tuan said: “Humans of Hanoi is nurturing an idea of raising fund to help our characters. Sometimes it is not the valuable and expensive thing that matter, just some very simple things like some pens, some notebooks or the warm clothes”. 
 
Experience more about Hanoi and people living in Hanoi via the famous streets of Old Quarter as Hanoi beer street, named Ta Hien - the street for foreigners, or other corners as Hoan Kiem Lake, Hang Ma street, Hang Dao street...
Other suggestion is Hanoi Cultural trip https://www.fareastour.asia/vietnam-destinations/hanoi-capital-of-vietnam/hanoi-cultural-day-trip/ to expore Hanoi basically via its historical witness as One Pillar Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, Water Puppet Performance...