Thu Dao was born into a poor family with many children. Rural areas often have the custom of burning coal to warm up mothers after birth because they believe that it will be good for pregnant women and babies, Thu Dao can be warmed up in that way. When less than a month old, her mother let her lie in a hammock, burning a charcoal pot below.
Reconstructed images from the film “The Magic of Dao”
In just a moment when the mother left her child outside in the yard to get water, she heard the cry of the house, she could not expect her daughter to be 28 days old, could fall out of the hammock and lie on the pot of charcoal, as if there was a metaphysical hand because there was no one in the house at the time. The child struggled in the coal, burned one side of body, burned all the left fingers and one side of her face, Dao was taken to the emergency hospital, due to his necrosis, she had to cut his left arm close to the elbow. Only after a period of treatment, the hospital also gave up and returned home to wait for death. But Dao does not die, the baby just overcomes death to live.
“My friends tease me that the handless, the one with the mouth distorted, this is … so miserable. Every time I was beaten by my friends, I had to run and cry. Mom, I don’t want to go to school anymore. When I see my friends doing exercise, which I can’t do … I run to tell my mother not to study anymore. But my mother kept begging, I loved my mother so I went to school. At that time, I thought I just wanted to die.
In 2004, Mr. and Mrs. Walchak’s Rotaplast charity team came to do surgery for babies with cleft palate. My case is very difficult. I kept waiting but it was not possible. Until I met my adoptive parents, it was Mr. and Mrs. Walchak, they asked me if I wanted to go to the US for surgery. Without any hesitation, I agree, anyway, I’ll go. Being helped by Mother Hang’s search for work, I was very touched and worked with my heart.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Hang was the one who appeared when Dao was forced to choose among many concerns in her life. As an unknown person, but gradually played an important role in the turn of a handicapped girl.
“I met Dao in the middle of 2008, she went to the office to meet me to register for free dental facial surgery with a team of Surgicorps from the United States. I was stunned when I first met Dao with a half-burned face and no hand, but she did not hesitate with that face but was very confident, always looking straight at me while talking.”
At this time, Dao has undergone 7 surgeries, her face has improved, but the scars are still tangled, her eyes and mouth are still pulled apart. After returning from the US, Dao was determined from Binh Dinh to Ho Chi Minh City to apply for a job and study English and accounting at night. At that time, the work was really difficult. Not only worrying about herself, Dao still had to sell lottery tickets at Bach Dang wharf to earn money to send to her parents in the countryside.
On the first morning when the Surgicorps team just landed, while waiting to check in at the Majestic Hotel, they had to check up for Dao and some other patients. That afternoon, they started to work immediately, Dao was the first case for blood tests that afternoon and they decided to have surgery the next day because they wanted to have 1 week of postoperative treatment for her before they returned their country. But Dao could not have surgery right away because the boss did not allow. It is difficult to choose lose a job or have surgery, but she needs many more surgeries to improve her face. Every occasion like this is a golden opportunity.
“A week later Dao called me to tell me that she was fired, without hesitation, I said “As soon as you regain your spirit, come to the company to meet me”even though I didn’t know what Dao could do at the time. Taking Dao into the company is my decision, no one stopped but seeing the eyes of some staff I know Dao will not be easy when working here.” Ms. Hang recalls.
“Dao is very smart and hardworking, regardless of what is delivered, she will complete it in the best way, even the latest accounting software she can use very quickly. Every day she still ride motorbike with one hand, do everything with one hand but it doesn’t make her afraid of anything. She worked without complaining, when I found out that she was being forced, when being asked, she said, “No problem, I just let myself solve it.” She also asked to call me mother from that day.
Then on a summer day two years later, Dao timidly told her foster mother the story of a dentist in the Walchak’s Rotaplast tean, having met Dao for the first time since she was a little girl. In the poor countryside of Binh Dinh province. He has often encouraged, talked online, now he come to Da Nang and want to date. At that time, Hang mother said to Dao, “You have nothing to be taken advantage of, if he wants to come to you, it can only be an extremely loving and compassionate heart, that is the gift of God to you.”
Now Dao has become the mother of two lovely angels, 6-year-old Michelle and 4-year-old Mitchell, her family lives in Murphys, California, USA. It was amazing that when she came to the US for only a few years, she was able to complete the program at Columbia College with excellent results, both raising two children and driving to school and work everyday. Every year, her family returns to Vietnam to visit her mother and orphanages to give gifts to the children as a gratitude to life.
Ms. Luong Thi Thuc, Dao’s mother, is very happy because her daughter has grown up and has a good life that she has never dared to dream of: “Seeing her, my heart is merciful but I don’t know how to say it. Don’t think she has a husband. Although Dao’s husband now does not know Vietnamese but through contact, gesture, and action, I know that it is a moral person.”
This is probably a miracle in fairy tales. A perfect ending for many years of Dao’s hardship. Dao’s story has the silhouette of two mothers, who gave birth to her and who helped her overcome difficulties in adulthood. Living in the countryside, growing up in the fear of the people around, the girl must not have dared to cope with all without her mother’s love and encouragement.
Got a story for us? Need to tell us about something amazing you’ve seen or done? Want us to investigate something? Get in touch!
Email email@example.com, and you could even earn money for your stories or tips.