On a casual occasion, I met Dì Hạnh’s papaya stall at Pham The Hien Market (District 8). The small booth located near the gate has nothing but papaya and mixed ice that continuously welcomes many guests. I went there when the papaya was about to end, there were only a few guests left, and she was about to go home.
“I only sell from 6 in the morning until noon, sweetie. Now I am not as difficult as I was. My two daughters are also successful, so I continue to sell papaya for charity and not to make a living.” She also had a lot of fun and memorable here. Therefore, she continues to sell papaya. “My guests are all familiar customers. Some people, who have been eating here for over ten years, usually still came here to eat my papaya, even though their current homes are far from here. God blessed that people remember that I sold papayas here. “
The papaya stall of Dì Hạnh is not a luxury one, but it is a place to go. Every time there is a guest, she always washes her hands carefully before taking the papaya fruit or receiving money. “Only when I do my business with prestige, people will trust me and support me for a long time. That’s why I can sell papaya here for almost fifty years and raise my two daughters. “
My dish was over at the same time she closed the stall. The shadow of their backs disappeared. Still, I always remember her story – the familiar story of not only one, but many people of Saigon who do their businesses with their honesty and sympathy for years.
I wonder if I can meet someone like Dì Hạnh in another neighborhood or district. However, with a hunch, I know that there are still many people like her waiting for me to come and explore Saigon.