Original article by Doan Nhan from Tuoi Tre News, March 19th, 2020
English translation by Uyen Phuong Tran
Over 2,000 orange juice bottles were personally delivered to front-line workers to show support and encouragement for the COVID-19 warriors.
What’s even more meaningful is that the oranges were ‘rescued’ oranges of Ha Tinh, Nghe An mountain farmers, who were struggling as the pandemic incapacitated export trade.
After a month of working restlessly to ‘rescue’ over 160 tons of oranges, donating all profits to build homes for the underprivileged, members of Bep Com Van Tinh (Home-cooked Meal Charity) Club in Danang threw themselves into another campaign ‘aiding with orange juice’ to support the front-liners fighting against the pandemic. Over two tons of late-season oranges were purchased from farmers at a price many times higher than the merchants’ offer.
Ignoring the blazing sun of the Central region in March, Bich Thuan, 26, and Nguyen Nhat Ly, 27, relentlessly cut and squeezed juicy oranges. The two shared: ‘Most days, our hands are dead tired from squeezing the oranges, but everyone is happy. Just thinking that our orange juice bottles will cheer up the people receiving them makes us forget being tired.’
Bich Thuan laughed it off, ‘Our efforts cannot even compare to the efforts of police officers standing under the sun or the doctors sacrificing themselves in a hazardous environment. Everyone lends a hand. We just hope to help boost their immune systems and to let them know that the people are cheering them on.’
The Club has over 20 members, with different jobs and schedules. For instance, Ly is a driver. After work, he immediately drove to their base to help other members squeeze the oranges and bottle the juice to deliver to the quarantine facilities. Thuan used her own break time to call for more volunteers joining the campaign.
One afternoon in March, the Club delivered coolers full of fresh orange juice bottles to the cafeteria of the Ministry of Public Security’s 199 Hospital. The quick box meal that day had cool and fresh orange juice bottles, making it totally different from any recent meal. Under the thick layer of face masks, smiles lit up the eyes of the people who were taking care of dozens of quarantine cases. Everyone was welling up.
Dr. Vo Thi Hong Huong, head of the 199 Hospital’s rehabilitation department, choked with emotions as she recalled all the doctors from the hospital joining the pandemic prevention and control from the very first days. The hospital currently has both red quarantine zones (for infected cases) and mass quarantine.
In the time of a pandemic, other professions may see a slowdown, but the healthcare system must prevail, shouldering the battle. People are now wary of hospitals and the people working there.
‘But your Club is courageous enough to visit the hospital to cheer us on and give us these orange juice bottles, as well as notes of encouragement. These gifts may not have much of monetary value, but at this time, these are words of encouragement that we are tremendously grateful for. Your action shows us that the healthcare field is not alone,’ said Dr. Huong.
On the Facebook pages of hospitals in Danang and Hue, photos of fresh orange juice bottles arranged in a star shape or doctors working in their night shifts with orange juice bottles in their hands and with smiling eyes were shared with thank-you messages. Calls and messages expressing gratitude from quarantined people are an immense source of motivation for this group of young people.
Ho Ngoc Thanh, 35, leader of Bep Com Van Tinh Club, revealed that from the social networks, many people who wanted to remain anonymous have donated money so the club could purchase glass bottles for the campaign. Many people have messaged them to provide both financial and physical supports. It’s those people who show the group the strength of the community.
The number of quarantine cases is increasing every day. Therefore, the Club continues to use a part of the profits from selling ‘rescued’ oranges to purchase and donate medical equipment, protective gears, and face masks to hospitals and quarantine facilities in Danang.