22/07/2021 09:31 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Vietnamese officer's imprint in central Africa

Vietnamese Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien is the only woman in a group of Vietnamese officers who joined the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Central African Republic (CAR). She is called “Madame Lien” - Vietnam's peace envoy in the fight against COVID-19 in CAR, by international friends and locals.
Nguyen Thi Lien joined the UN Peacekeeping Forces in CAR in June 2019. Lien and her colleagues faced many difficulties, especially in the context of armed conflict and political instability during the raging COVID-19 epidemic.

During a clean-up of the discarded piles of rau mung toi (Malabar spinach) which her colleagues left from their term, Lien saw that the vegetables were scrambled by local people. She then came up with the idea of planting garden of Malabar spinach for the locals.

After that, Lien encouraged locals to plant vegetables. It came as a result of families living around Lien’s place who all had Malabar spinach and rau muong (water spinach) gardens.



Vietnamese Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien is the only woman in a group of Vietnamese officers
who joined the UN Peacekeeping Forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) in June 2019. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP

 

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien delivers a speech on the topic of encouraging women's participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Photo: Cong Dat / VNP


Nguyen Thi Lien and her colleagues at MINUSCA. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files


Lien made nearly 300 face masks for 10 media agencies. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files


Nguyen Thi Lien and her colleagues at MINUSCA. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files


Nguyen Thi Lien and her colleagues at MINUSCA. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files

Lt Col Lien is called “Madame Lien”. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files

Once, Lt Col Lien dumped the beans that could not grow on the rack but these seeds germinated on the tree. “I stopped making bean sprouts and used those beans to grow beans,” said Lien of her new campaign which can change people's lives in a more sustainable way. Accordingly, green vegetables are only short-term food, what the locals still lack are food crops.

Lien started her campaign by growing corn and beans. With the locals’ help, Lien soon had 5 five acres of farmland to grow corn and beans.

“When it came to harvest season, every house had a pot of beans as big as a pot of banh chung during Tet holiday”. Lien also taught the locals to make cassava cake with green bean paste. Green beans were made into powder for children to drink. 

“When I arrived, they called me out in private, giving me the best corn of the harvest. Even though they were hungry, they didn't eat all of it, but they always gave me a portion.” Lien recalled.

Lien thinks that “things that come from the heart touch the heart”. Her colleagues say that Madame Lien is “key” to whatever needs to be found and who to ask. That's why, in poor conditions, but with her own prestige, Lien organized a culinary party with more than 20 participating countries.

COVID-19 hit after the bean harvest season. Lien vividly remembers the time when COVID-19 broke out in Central Africa: "At that time the whole country did not have a single mask". Seeing that situation, she thought of an action plan to sew masks to give to people.

Lien made 400 face masks by herself in one month and also encouraged the locals to wear them as they were not used to wearing masks.



Lien made face masks for the locals in Central Africa. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files


Lt Col Lien poses for a photo with locals who all wear Vietnam’s national flag shirts. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files


Lien is much loved by the locals. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files  



Children in the Central African Republic are given green bean powder
from bean harvests initiated by Lieutenant Colonel Lien. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files



Lien organized a culinary party with more than 20 participating countries. Photo: Nguyen Thi Lien's files

MINUSCA awarded a certificate of merit to Lien for her good deeds, which included making and presenting 400 face masks to the staff of MINUSCA and local people in Bangui. In his commendation, Force Commander of MINUSCA Lieutenant General Daniel Traore wrote that the good deed of the Vietnamese female officer shows the core value of the United Nations and she deserves to be an ambassador for Vietnam.

In response to the movement against COVID-19 by MINUSCA, Lien continued to make nearly 300 face masks for the participating media agencies.

Lieutenant Colonel Lien then became the character reported by the media: "Vietnam's peace envoy participating in the prevention of COVID-19 in the Central African Republic". The report on Lieutenant Colonel Lien was then replayed by UN media oulets
/.

“A message on the implementation of Resolution No. 84/NQ-CP dated May 29, 2020 of the government”

 
Story: Thao Vy        Photos: Cong Dat & Files       Translated by Hong Hanh