Living in such a cozy and harmonious village, among people who treated each other kindly and lovingly just like members of the same family, and as I was so innocent and little during that time, I did not realize that it was actually a time of war throughout the country. The village was like an island of paradise to me, loving, peaceful, and unforgettable.
When I reached the age for schooling, I walked along a winding road leading to the small school with a satchel under my arm, together with my brothers and sisters of about the same age. By then I ventured regularly ouside the house and no longer clung to my mother's arms.
Beside the road so many interesting things caught my eye. The fences adorned with red hibiscuses, or the Heaven's altars decorated with yellow chrysanthemums, white lilies, or multicolored roses; and the flowers' fragrance that exhaled slightly in early morning.
On the way, if we felt thirsty when it was hot we would find rainwater contained in earthen jars by the side of the each house. Nobody needed to ask for permission to drink, since this was part of the natural hospitality of the village. Standing on tiptoe, we reached for an empty tin can or a scoop made of coconut shell with a long bamboo handle, which was usually attached on the nearby fence, and then we took turns at drinking the sweet and cool rainwater before continuing happily on our way to school.
Free food and drink at Hoa Hao Buddhist Festival