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Anonymous Vietnamese Philanthropist Builds Bridge For Ethnic Minority Village

An anonymous Vietnamese philanthropist built a concrete bridge for the ethnic minority group Van Kieu who lives in Cu Pua Village, Dakrong Commune in the central province of Quang Tri who used to risk their lives every time they cross a fast-flowing stream on just wire cables.

The makeshift bridge is called “Anh Teo Sa Gon” (Bro Teo from Saigon) and was officially opened mid-January 2016. It is ten metres long and two metres wide. The bridge itself is just a regular-looking structure, but the story behind it makes it extra special and memorable.

More than a month ago, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper published a photo essay featuring Cu Pua villagers dangerously crossing a rapid-flowing stream using just two cables. A man from Ho Chi Ming City immediately went to the village head Ho Van Phoi and offered to build a temporary bridge over the risky body of water. It cost him VND30 million ($1,323) to build the structure. He is in his 40s, heavily built and has the face of a good man. He didn’t want to be recognized so only asked to be called Teo, a common Vietnamese pet name.

Admitting that he was not rich and only wanted to help, he made a deal with Phoi that he would provide the cement and steel with his money, but the villagers themselves must help with the construction of the bridge itself. It was then decided that two members of each household would be on the team, or an equivalent of 56 people out of the 26 households in the village. Teo also brought with him a mechanical engineer and a civil engineer who would work on the technical and security aspects of the construction.

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The work started on January 5, 2016 and in just one week, the bridge was finished right in the same spot as the two cables used to be. Residents of Cu Pua Village still can’t seem to believe up to now that there is someone, a stranger at that, so kind-hearted as to offer to build them a bridge without asking anything in return and not even wanting to be recognized for his good deed.

The chairman of the Dakrong Commune People’s Committee is the only person who knows Teo’s real identity, but he intends to keep it a secret at the philanthropist’s request. The bridge may look ordinary, but how it changed the villagers’ lives forever for the better makes it incredible, immortal.


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