Young lieutenant sowing seeds of peace

"My greatest wish now is peace for South Sudan, stability in life and politics so that the people, especially the children, can have a better future and quality of life," said Nguyen Sy Cong.

Nguyen Sy Cong and children in South Sudan (Photo courtersy of Nguyen Sy Cong)

In 'Vietnam’s Blue Berets' published by Kim Dong Publishing House, Nguyen Sy Cong shares, ‘Peace is not a abstract or grand notion; it arises from the small things between people every day. If we treat each other with sincerity and embrace sharing, we will understand one another, and from there, we can move in the same direction.'

Unforgettable journey

Born in Do Luong, Nghe An, a region with a longstanding revolutionary tradition, Nguyen Sy Cong, a member of the 9X generation, harbored a childhood dream of following the legacy of past generations by becoming a distinguished, courageous, and resilient soldier.

"In times of war, soldiers wield guns to defend their homeland, but in times of peace, when the smoke of bombs and gunfire fades, besides military training, providing medical care to save lives becomes invaluable," he shared.

Driven by this belief, Nguyen Sy Cong was resolute in pursuing a career in medicine and serving at Military Hospital 103. This aspiration gradually became a reality when, in early September 2020, he and his comrades embarked on a mission to South Sudan as part of the United Nations peacekeeping operations contingent. There, Nguyen Sy Cong contributed to medical examinations and treatments at the Outpatient Department of Level 2 Field Hospital No.4, located in the Juba Compound military base in Bentiu City.

Arriving in a foreign land amidst the intense Covid-19 pandemic, the conditions in South Sudan are indeed challenging: medical facilities are scarce, the living environment remains rugged and harsh, and the onset of the rainy season exacerbates the spread of other infectious diseases, complicating treatment efforts. Despite these adversities, they displayed remarkable adaptability and ingenuity, effectively aiding local communities in disease treatment, prevention, and epidemic control.

Nguyen Sy Cong remarked that in South Sudan, temperatures can soar above 63 degrees Celsius on certain days while typically ranging between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius. However, the greatest challenge lies in the ongoing instability of the region, where daily occurrences of bombs and gunfire haunt everyone, particularly the impoverished. Yet, amidst these hardships, the young Vietnamese man has forged unforgettable experiences, fostering significant personal growth.

Alongside his regular duties, Cong also devoted much love to the children in South Sudan. Beyond simply giving gifts, each visit brings a host of surprises: he treated them to Vietnamese delicacies like banh chung (Vietnamese square sticky rice cake) and mooncakes during festive occasions and taught them Vietnamese and Vietnamese children's songs. This is how he has planted the seeds of peace in their hearts. Through such gestures, they will grow up surrounded by love and contribute to the nation's prosperity," shared journalist Nam Kha, author of "Vietnam's Blue Berets".

Praying for peace in South Sudan

It was his successful completion of tasks during that challenging period that led to Lieutenant Nguyen Sy Cong being deployed to South Sudan again after his return to Vietnam. Cong remarked that this opportunity is truly fortunate for him, as he harbors numerous ambitions and unfinished plans from his previous assignment in South Sudan.

"During my two years of service in South Sudan, alongside my primary responsibilities, I assisted local residents with farming and cultivation, shared food processing techniques, and, most importantly, taught English and life skills to South Sudanese children. However, due to an initial lack of preparation and the intense workload at that time, I could not accomplish much. This time, my team and I are better prepared, and with our gained experience, I hope we will be able to make a greater impact in helping the local people and further enhance the positive image of Uncle Ho's soldiers to the world," shared Nguyen Sy Cong.

Some liken Nguyen Sy Cong to Quang Linh, a young man from the same hometown of Nghe An, who is currently engaged in activities to improve the lives of the people in Angola. Cong expressed his desire to do the same for the people of South Sudan, but he acknowledged the challenges. In South Sudan, the internal conflict remains tense. People are hesitant to engage in farming and animal husbandry because families with significant assets are at risk of having them seized by rebel forces.

"My greatest wish now is peace for South Sudan, stability in life and politics so that the people, especially the children, can have a better future and quality of life. I will strive to contribute, build, and support the people of South Sudan to the best of my ability," shared Sy Cong.

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