A real flood season Hoi An through the lens of an American photographer
thamnguyen99 20-11-2020, 10:37

In the pictures of Alden Anderson (37 years old), Hoi An, in the first days after a flood, suddenly … brightened.

After the historic flood that raged in the Central region, the photos of Hoi An people happily cleaning up after the flood were spread by netizens, like a spark of hope for a brilliant new day. Contributing to light up the light is Alden Anderson – an American skin photographer with a great love for Vietnam.

A real Hoi An is different from the flood season

Stop in Vietnam and have lived in Hoi An for almost 3 years since January 2018, but the recent historic flood is the first time Alden has witnessed “a Vietnam submerged in floodwater”. “Startled” is but something he feels at that time. Even though I had read the news and prepared myself for the days of fierce rain and wind, when I stepped out of the house and saw water all the way, everything was beyond Alden’s imagination.

Alden Anderson – American photographer and a great love for Vietnam.PHOTO: NVCC
Alden Anderson’s image in Hoi An was taken by a friend.

“I went to the old town to volunteer and was amazed to find the water there to the neck,” Alden described. At that time, Hoi An ancient town in the eyes of an American man was like a river. The water rises, the currents are strong, the wading is difficult, people use small boats to move in the middle of the street. 

The old town is like wearing a new, strange and special shirt. But what makes Hoi An even more special is the way people respond to floods. “Things are inconvenient, but Hoi An people seem to get used to it”, shared Alden. It is not surprising that the Central people in general and Hoi An people, in particular, have long been accustomed to “living with floods”. 

Their houses were built to withstand storms and floods, doors appeared on the upper floors from the attic to the outside, boats and food were prepared from the beginning of the season. Furniture is stored and cleaned in a rolling fashion, where the water is immediately cleaned.

Witnessing how life in Hoi An is run to deal with the water god, the photographer commented: “It’s like a pre-programmed machine. As long as one signal is emitted, the components will immediately function as they play.

The image of Ms. Sa was taken by Alden Anderson.PHOTO: NVCC
Binh with his sweeping broom.PHOTO: NVCC

Hoi An people are optimistic

In the stories and pictures that Alden and her colleagues – Nguyen Thi Yen Trinh published, Hoi An people in the flood season are still extremely optimistic. They looked at Alden with cheerful eyes, greeted them with a smile, shared the story, and waited for him to take pictures. Because of that, in Hoi An, during the flood season, the photographer is as bright as the yellow color of the typical walls here.

The picture of Mrs. Sa is a very special one. It recorded the moment she stood by the emergency exit door in the attic, where the whole family would escape if the water rose too quickly. Sharing with Ms. Yen Trinh, she said: “The flood is very strong, letting a stranger move in it is not easy. Yet Alden still came to take pictures”. 

Meanwhile, Binh’s photo is more unique. In the picture, Binh stood in the middle of the high water, cleaning the lime tree. “This broom is to sweep the trash away. Push the trash stuck on the walls to let it go, ”Binh explained to Alden’s partner. Binh has just come to Hoi An to live, but he seems to have absorbed the love and spirit of the people of Hoi. Alden admires the optimism of the Vietnamese: “They are tough, but they do not fall.” He said, Hoi An has gone through many difficulties, tourism and service activities have been delayed by epidemics and floods, but they continue to smile to cope with difficulties. towels.

Alden Anderson’s photos taken in Hoi An during high floods.PHOTO: NVCC

And a consensus Vietnam

During the past two years, Alden and his friend traveled to many places along with the S-shaped land. On that journey, Alden met and recorded portraits of many special people. There are old people who have spent their youth fighting for their homeland, and there are children playing with buffalo or cheering for their home team. The Vietnamese people, through the lenses of the American photographer, are rich in vitality, resilience, and optimism. “Now, the Vietnamese people have to cope with natural disasters, those qualities are not weakened,” Alden said.

Alden admired the friendly spirit of the Vietnamese people when the Central was in trouble: “Relief groups and volunteer activities are popping up everywhere. People looking to the Central. This is very touching. He also wants to be able to do more things to help the Vietnamese people. Because with Alden, Vietnam in general and Hoi An, in particular, has long been the second homeland, a place to live and return to after long trips.

During his days in Vietnam, Alden Anderson traveled around and took portraits of the special people he encountered.PHOTO: NVCC