Vietnamese ‘blue beret’ female soldiers

Saturday, 2019-02-09 09:50:42
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Ten female soldiers at the level-2 field hospital No.1 in Bentiu, South Sudan
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NDO - Inside the tent at the gate of the level-2 field hospital No.1 in Bentiu, South Sudan, Major Bui Thi Xoa, the hospital's dental technician is performing guard at 4 pm. It was 8 pm in Vietnam because Vietnam's time zone is four hours ahead of South Sudan. If in Vietnam, Major Xoa would probably be gathering with her family in a cozy room watching TV. Here, she and her teammates have just begun a new mission in the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan - the mission of military doctors wearing ‘blue berets’.

Beginning the new mission in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan, Guarding the barracks is the first work of female soldiers as well as the group of the level-2 field hospital No.1 in Bentiu, South Sudan. The guarding mission includes recording, guiding and supporting guests who go to the hospital. In particular, they must always be in a state of being ready to receive and process the necessary information at any time, through the radio Tetra. The most disturbances during night duty are the mosquito bites, because in Bentiu, malaria is one of the biggest obsessions.

Facing difficulties, but when answering the question of the UN Peacekeeping Mission's female journalist, Beatrice Mategwa, "Were you afraid to come to South Sudan?" young lieutenant Sa Minh Ngoc confidently answered fluently in English: "We have had four years of thorough preparation and wish to quickly carry out the task at the Mission. As soldiers, we are eager to carry out our assigned national tasks".

It is not difficult to feel the strength and determination of the Vietnamese female soldiers of the level-2 field hospital No.1 in South Sudan. Bentiu, where there used to be a fierce battleground in the peak of the civil war in South Sudan, is experiencing precious peaceful days. In the Bentiu base, where the hospital is stationed, it is even more peaceful because of the strict protection of the UN peacekeeping forces.

Doctor Thu Ngan and nurse To Thi Kieu Trinh at the level-2 field hospital No.1

After nearly a month since arriving in the area, the level-2 field hospital No.1 officially went into operation. The hospital has received a large number of patients. In the first two weeks alone, the level-2 field hospital No.1 received 56 patients for treatment with various diseases, from simple diseases such as digestive diseases to more complicated cases of surgery. The dedication of doctor Thu Ngan and the smile of nurse To Thi Kieu Trinh when receiving patients at the clinic have contributed to creating sympathy for the Vietnamese military soldiers. Good English skills help them to be confident when working with the UN patients from different countries. The level-2 field hospital No.1 has become a reliable address for the staff of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan. The professionalism, dedicated attitude, sympathy and sharing of doctors from Vietnam are also the necessary encouragement for those who are participating in the mission of peacekeeping in challenging areas such as Bentiu.

The patients' small souvenirs expressing gratitude to those who helped them stay healthy after being discharged from the hospital make the army doctors wearing 'blue berets’ from Vietnam to better understand their mission. That is also the reason why the Vietnamese field hospital was welcomed by the UN Peacekeeping Mission and the UN peacekeeping forces of other countries in Bentiu base. Especially, the 10 girls of the hospital were expected, because the UN always appreciates the role of women in the mission of peacekeeping. Vietnam has 10 out of a total 63 officers in the contingent, which stands at nearly 17 per cent. The percentage is higher than the expectation of the United Nations, because the rate of female peacekeepers is normally required at only 10 per cent.

Second lieutenant Sa Minh Ngoc and local children

Being aware of their role and mission, the female soldiers of the level-2 field hospital No.1 always maintain the good image of the female soldier of the Vietnam People's Army and, in particular, Vietnamese woman in general. Confidently completing her professional duties at the level-2 field hospital No.1, Doctor Thu Ngan expressed her happiness to do her favorite work and bring reassurance to the patients. “For me, the pleasure is bringing satisfaction and smiles to the sick”, she shared.

In extreme weather conditions, the girls adapt quite quickly to the conditions. Outside of working hours, every afternoon when the weather is calm, the girls at the level-2 field hospital No.1 walk together or take exercise on campus of the hospital. They take care of the vegetable gardens after work. They are conscious of using water economically. In their spare time, they have enlisted to make pancakes, cakes, or rolls, in order to enrich the meals, as well as help colleagues in the hospital feel less homesick.

Being away from home to work oin a difficult place like Bentiu is not easy, especially for women, so these female soldiers are more loving and united, caring to help each other overcome difficulties to complete their mission. On the birthday of one of them, ten girls prepared a celebration together. Simple birthday gifts, such as homemade photo frames from cardboard boxes, or scarves brought from Vietnam, are enough to bring joy to each other in a place far away from the country halfway around the world.

The ten female soldiers at the level-2 field hospital No.1 can be proud of the fact that they are the first Vietnamese women to join the UN peacekeeping mission, contributing to bringing pride to the country.