Phi – from Beach to Business

Phi – from Beach to Business

“Your English is very good!”…”Thank you! I never went to school”. It was around noon. She went through a small street in Hoi An, Vietnam. It was very exhausting to get cheap accommodation and Betty was almost ready to give up looking. Then she appeared – Phi. At this moment Betty did not know that she would meet such an exceptional person. “Hello, can I help you?” Phi asked, standing in front of a restaurant. They would end up in a conversation about not finding an affordable place to stay. During her whole stay in Vietnam she had never met anyone with such a good knowledge of the English language. Phi never went to school. Her English was exceptional. “How is this possible?” she asked herself. But there it was a story to be told.
The situation in Vietnam was different in 1990. The need for education was not as much appreciated. Phi never attended school; instead she was working on the beach to earn money. She was selling pineapples - grown in her parents’ backyard – on the beach. Normally this sounds just like a pity. Nobody thinks this has any perspective – at least in the Western world. No education, working on the beach. But Phi is different. She is smart, very smart to be honest. Her English skills were gained through talking to tourists. However, a lot of women sell souvenirs or fruit on the beach, but none of them knows English that well. So where did it come from? Later Betty learned it was because Phi wants to get to know the people. She wants to share her thoughts, give advice, promote her country and most important of all help others.
Betty was a little bit scared. She was supposed to ride on a motorbike. A motorbike – with a complete stranger. Phi always wants to help. Betty’s desperation was only another way for Phi to help tourists. She tried to call a hotel which was very close. As she couldn’t reach them, she wanted to still help Betty and told her brother to take Betty to the hotel. Eventually Betty agreed – as if she had a saying in this. As...