Kids in Con Se village.
The village’s chief, Mr. Nguyen Cuong, said most of families have 7-8 children. Some families have up to ten children or more.
Cuong explained that villagers are fishermen so they deliver a lot of children in order to have enough “sailors.”
Mr. Nguyen Do, 55, now holds the record of “reproduction” with 14 children. His oldest son is 36 years old and his youngest daughter is only ten. Do’s three children have got married and lived separately, but Do’s 30sq.m house is the home to 17 people.
Asking Do about his “record,” he said naturally: “I have eight sons, plus four sons-in-law, enough for setting up a team of sailors. I do not have to hire outsiders.”
But Do’s wife, Ms. Hoang Thi Huong, said with a sigh: “I have lost my breath for going to market to purchase food and cook for that number of people, let alone earning money to raise them…”
Do’s case can be excused as legacy of the old time but in Con Se village, many 30-year-old people have 4-5 children.
Ms. Pham Thi Nhi, 37, has ten children. Correspondents visited her house when the family was having lunch but there were only Nhi, her husband and a child sitting around a tray.
“Each child carries a bowl to run everywhere. We rarely eat together because there is not enough space for all kids,” said Nhi’s husband, Nguyen Tra.
The couple got married in 1992 and had the first child in 1993. Now they have 10 children. The eldest daughter, 19, is about to get married. The youngest child is only five months old.
The village’s chief, Mr. Nguyen Cuong, said besides illiteracy and hunger, serious shortage of land is another consequency of excessive reproduction.
There are more than 650 families in the village but they have only 6ha of land. This is a rural village but houses in Con Se are narrower than those in big cities. Lacking land, 200 families have risked their lives for building houses out of the Gianh River dike.
A local official said the village has 650 families, totaling more than 3,000 people, including over 500 children of 0 to 5 years old. The village’s kids account for more than half of the primary students of Quang Loc commune (with seven villages), with 412 students but the village has several high-school students.
The official said most of kids quit school at the age of 12. Boys join their fathers and brothers to go to the sea at the age of 14-15 while girls stay at home to knit fishing nets and get married.
“It is very difficult to tell locals about family planning because they think that having many children is good for their family and they will be rich in the future,” the official said.
Of ten children of Ms. Nhi, 37, the eldest daughter quit school at the age of 8 and the eldest son gave up studies at the age of 10 and went to the sea when he was 12.
“He is paid more than VND15 million ($750) a year. Elder boys do hard tasks. He is small so he is assigned gentle tasks like cooking, mending nets and picking fish from nets. It is better than going to school,” Nhi said. Dan Viet