Big family shares tiny house in Ho Chi Minh City

By Quynh Tran   December 7, 2016 | 07:38 pm PT
A couple raises three kids on three square meters of land in Saigon's District 8.

Nguyen Phi Vu and his wife Pham Thi Kim Ngan rent a three-square-meter house next to Chanh Hung Bridge in District 8. They make a living repairing motorbikes and a selling drinks on the sidewalk.


The family makes a dinner of take-out purchased from a nearby vendor after deciding it's too hot to cook indoors.


The family has occupied their home for seven years; they now pay VND3 million ($132) a month in rent.


The ladder to their small attic provides vital shelf space, as do the walls.


The couple’s eldest daughter is 11 and must now curl her legs to sleep. They have a 9-year old boy and another daughter, aged 4.


The small attic gets hot and humid due to its low roof.


The ladder is so steep the children have tumbled down it several times. “Luckily they come away with minor scratches,” the mother said.


The family does all their cooking on the sidewalk. Chopsticks, spoons and a cutting board hang on the bathroom door.


Every night, the couple carefully ties up all their properties outside, including two motorbikes.


The couple used to live in an alley. But their bike repair business brings in better money on the street, where a bigger house would cost a lot more money. “We are worried that it will be much more difficult to continue living here when the children grow up,” the mother said.

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