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The life of the Ha Nhi family on a cold day

LAO CAI – 0-1 degree Celsius, the children of Y Ty border commune, Bat Xat district, play football in the rain, adults rest in the fields and the fire is always red day and night.

Entering the third day of the cold spell in the North, the temperature in Y Ty commune was only 0-1 degrees Celsius. At high points such as Nhiu Co San, Ngai Thau, snow and ice-covered thickly for two days; In low places such as the central villages of Choen Then, Lao Chai… there is no ice, but it is cold and rainy all day, making people’s activities limited.

In the cold rain, many families in Lao Chai village, Trung Chai still go more than 40 km to cut grass for buffaloes. In winter, the grass is dead and the forest is covered with snow, so they have to go to lowlands like Coc San or near Lao Cai city to find grass. “If you’re hungry, you can’t go without food for a day,” said Mr. Tra A De, because each buffalo is worth 30-40 million VND.

On cold days, families bring their buffaloes back from the fields, covered with tents.

Y Ty commune is located at an altitude of over 2,000 m, bordering China. The commune has 12 villages, more than 5,200 people, three ethnic communities living in Ha Nhi, Mong and Dao. There are about 2,700 Ha Nhi people, living in six villages; Hmong people have nearly 2,000 people in three villages; The rest are Dao people.

Mr. Tra A Lu, Chairman of Y Ty commune, said that there are not many differences in the farming practices of the three ethnic communities, all farming, growing rice, maize and cardamom. However, Ha Nhi people have a number of special New Year festivals, such as Kho Gia Gia praying for a good harvest in June, Tet Ga Tho Tho – the biggest festival of the year to celebrate the completion of the harvest.

The ball game in the rain of Ha Nhi boys on the yard of the community cultural activities in Choen Then village, on the afternoon of February 21. The children usually play soccer after school, but yesterday afternoon the match took place earlier, when the students were absent from school because of the cold weather.

In the two-room house in Lao Chai village, three generations of Mr. San Ma Sa’s family gathered around the fire to cook and warm. Three days of freezing cold are also the same time that Mr. Sa’s kitchen is always pink, day and night. Before the monsoon came, his father and son went to the forest to collect firewood and fill the warehouse. “It only takes a moment to turn off the cold,” he said, the stove being the only thing keeping warm in border homes.

Ms. Pha Mo Cho, Mr. Sa’s wife, took a break from farming when it was raining and cold, and stayed at home to take care of three buffaloes and three pigs – the most valuable assets of the family.

From the 25th of December, Mr. Sa has cooked a 120 kg pig a year for Tet and hung up the kitchen to eat gradually in the cold season, until the end of spring. The temperature in the border region in winter is low, with cold airwaves coming continuously to prevent the meat from rotten or spoiled.

On cold days, Mr. Sa’s children hang around the bed and the fire. San Xa Suy (6th grade) and San Xa Po (4th grade) have both been absent from school to avoid the cold from February 21 until the school has a new notice.

Mr. Sa said that this year’s cold is not as cold as the year before when Y Ty still has heavy snowfall, but it seems to last longer than every year.

Mr. Sa’s family has two cats and three dogs. On a cold day, 5-year-old girl San Xa Pho will put the cats in the blanket to sleep with.

The meal of seven people consisted of boiled cabbage and catfish, fried pork skin with tofu and a bowl of pickle soup, placed next to the charcoal stove. Outside, the temperature at 6:30 pm on February 21 was still 1 degree Celsius, the rain did not stop.

The strongest cold airwave from the beginning of winter swept to the North from the night of February 18, causing the temperature to drop deeply. On February 21-22, 25 provinces and cities recorded temperatures below 10. It is forecasted that severe, damaging cold will last until February 24.

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