21-year-old Thanh runs from school to the restaurant where she works in Hanoi (Vietnam). She’s a little late tonight. She studies environmental sciences, a topic quite important to young Vietnamese people who hear a lot about it.
She grabs the empty cask of beer that was just changed and asks the owner if she can give it to the people who recycle. I’m told that everything is recycled in Vietnam, to my delight. She turns towards me and explains that although recycling is good, the process they use to recycle is often polluting… There’s a subtle frown on her face.
Thanh has a big dream which she so openly and eagerly shared with me. She dreams of a cleaner Vietnam, one where local people themselves take care of their land in a ‘green’, non-polluting way. She says tourists understand this, but Vietnamese people must be the ones taking action.
She admits that studying environmental sciences is not a good career choice from a money perspective… But her dream is worth it!
Just before I head out the door, she looks at me with a big smile and says: “They cannot tax my dream, so I will keep on dreaming.”