Bui Van Chi, 50, and his wife Nguyen Thi Hao, 42, sit in front of their six-square-meter home in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District. They left their lives as farmers in nearby Nam Dinh Province 12 years ago to eke out a living in the city. “We had enough to eat but not enough to live on, so we decided to travel to Hanoi and join the ‘human labor market’,” Chi said. The couple usually works from 7 p.m. to midnight, doing odd jobs that mostly include cleaning and loading/unloading. “One needs to be prepared in this line of work. Whether cleaning houses, stevedoring, transporting waste or doing demolition, you do it!” Chi stressed. Their work kit consists of two wheelbarrows, some baskets, shovels and helmets, along with a small satchel containing gloves and water bottles. Chi and Hao remove debris from a construction site, each bag weighing up to 50 kg. “A full load could earn us around VND200,000 ($8.61), depending on the distance between the site and means of transport,” Chi said. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the couple made around VND15 million ($645) a month. Now, they only manage about VND10 million. Chi holds out his callused… Read full this story
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