Chi is nearly 18 years old, adopted from birth. Her adoptive mother died of throat cancer when she was 2 years old.
Several months after her mother's death, Chi was hit by a motorbike when crossing the street. The accident left Chi with brain damage, convulsions, fever, and paralysis on one side of her body. She was lucky to escape death, but lost one eye and continues to suffer from epilepsy. When she was young, Chi was a very active child, often running and jumping, so sometimes her fake eye fell out. Not worried, Chi just picked it up and took it home for her father to put it back in. But those carefree and happy days did not last long. From the point when Chi went to kindergarten until now, she was often teased by other kids, so she felt very self-conscious, and didn’t want to go to school. Being teased about her eye damage and being an adopted child made her depressed in middle school, especially in 9th grade, when she often had stress and seizures. Fortunately, at that time, she was encouraged by her family—her father and stepmother in particular—which helped her to finish middle school.
Chi’s biggest passion is music and singing. Despite enjoying seeing others perform on stage, she never sang or danced in her village because she was ashamed of her face and body. When Chi entered the Ninh Binh province’s Blind Association (NBBA), she felt more confident and started singing in front of others. From the internet, she learned to sing and play the guitar. Chi wants to also learn to play the piano someday because she feels it will be a meaningful way to express herself.
Chi is very strong-willed. She told us “My family can afford to send me to study guitar in a musical center, but I want to learn it by myself.” She also saved up money to buy a guitar on her own by working at a store. When she began to be interested in makeup, Chi taught herself how to apply makeup using online tutorials, and now enjoys making up herself and friends. Chi can go on forever about her father (even though she said that she can never say these words in his presence). “The luckiest thing in my life is to be my father's daughter. My father is the best father. He is a good cook, and because he experienced loss, he loves and cherishes what he has. He is very patient with me, and loves me with the love of both a father and a mother.”
In the past, Chi’s family was very poor. Her father was a military nurse, but because he did not have a degree, in the early 1980s he was discharged. He returned to his hometown and worked a variety of jobs: nurse, security guard, builder, and cowherd. Fortunately, thanks to a surge in the construction of industrial parks near Chi’s village which brought workers in need of temporary housing,, her parents were able to establish a room rental business. The first room they hired workers to build, then they learned the techniques to build 8 additional rooms themselves. Since then, the family’s financial stability has improved.
Chi has a 15-year-old brother who her father had with her stepmother. “He is a good brother and has a lot of respect for me. I used to work as a garment worker and a store clerk, so I have money to buy things for my brother. We get along very well and he is the person I confide in the most.” However, working at the garment factory is very tiring and Chi continued to suffer from mild epilepsy. She hopes to work as a therapist in Ninh Binh, doing gentle Swedish massages that suit her health condition. Chi’s dream is that one day, she can open a hair salon, combined with doing massage and manicures near her home.