Half century in love on the landfill

By Vuong Linh, Kim Thuy   April 9, 2016 | 01:36 pm GMT+7

No children, no home and no job - the three painful “nos” that make them treasure each other more than anything else in this world.

- I have nothing more valuable than these patched pants.

Will you marry me?

- Yes. I will.

- When?

- Today

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It was 47 years ago when the two orphans decided to live together on the street.

The proposal in a landfill site may not have been the ideal start, but nearly a half century later, their love story has swept the online world touching the hearts of hundreds of thousands of netizens, making them popular throughout the country.

There was no fairytale wedding or shocking details in their love story.

Their love lies in the simplicity of their lives amid the hustle and bustle of the capital.

No children, no home and no job, the three painful “nos” make them treasure each other more than anything else in this world.

“She is the only beautiful thing I have. I am still falling in love with her every day.”

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But it wasn't love at first sight. They got marriage for just one reason: “peace”.

The two scavengers had been at war for a long time on the landfill “battlefield”.

They scrambled and fought each other for trash.

One day, the husband decided to negotiate a deal to end the war with the proposal.

“I asked her to live with me to end the fighting so we work together. She was responsible for cooking while I collected the trash,” Hai said.

The cohabitation turned into love without them realizing it.

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In their makeshift house by the river, the couple fully enjoyed every day without questioning what tomorrow would bring. For them it was “no ambitions, no disappointment”.

Every night, he scavenges the landfill site until dawn but illness now forces his wife to stay at home.

She can no longer accompany her husband on the journey to ‘discover’ the land of trash anymore.

“Wearing clothes washed by my wife, eating food she has prepared, they are the happiest things in my life. Nothing else can compare to this,” Hai said.

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10 years ago, the homeless couple had to eat food they found in the trash. Sometimes, when they could not find anything on land, they had to search the river.

Every night, the couple had to take turns to watch their possessions, including a bicycle they received from a monk, some clothes and cooking pots.

“The homeless would steal regardless if their victims were rich or poor,” Thuy, the wife said.

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Thanks to the help from authorities and social organizations, their lives have become more stable, though poverty still plagues them.

But it does not matter, as they are used to being poor.

The only thing haunts the husband is that he could not give his dear wife a child.

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"She never complains about that, but I know deep down inside, she is dying to have a baby."

"Recently, more and more people have come to visit us to give us gifts, and many of them are students. Talking with them alleviates our sorrow. That is enough for us," Hai said.

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Living with each other for nearly a half a century, the couple had a wedding photo taken for the first time by a photographer who admired their love and strength.

"They've changed my views on love and happiness," photographer Le Cao Hai said.

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Photo by Le Cao Hai