Pham Quy Thi
Pham Quy Thi
My name is Pham Quy Thi. I am 52 years old and I live in Vietnam, in the Quang Tri Province, near the city of Hue. I am married and I have three children, a daughter, 28 years old, and two sons, 25 and 21 years old.
I am a farmer and I work my own rice fields. The accident occurred in 1977 while I was working in the fields, ploughing the soil with a weeding hoe. Unfortunately, on that day, the hoe hit a soil clod with a cluster munition hidden inside. I lost consciousness five minutes after the accident due to blood loss. I was transported to the hospital by the other farmers.
I was injured all over my body, especially my right arm. I had to suffer four surgeries. The first one was to amputate my right arm, while the other three were needed to take all the remaining pieces of metal that were still in my other arm, both of my legs, and in my abdomen out of my body. I was hospitalised for about 20 days.
At that time I was 23 years old, and I was living with my parents. Immediately after the accident I did not want to go on living, but thanks to my parents’ love, I found the strength to recover and start to live and work again, which was really difficult during the entire first year after the accident.
Right after the accident my family received support from the neighbours, but for a short time only. At that time, everyone had to work for a living, as the war had ended just two years before. I had to practice working again without the use of my right arm, and I suffered from callouses after the long days of work. I figured out how to adapt without my arm, so I can do everything, but much slower than before.
Now I am involved with the Commune Institute of People with Disability as its Chief Officer. I deal with organising sports events, shot put and javelin competitions. Through this local organisation I have also organised some vocational trainings to teach disabled persons how to work in the rice fields and how to stay connected with others.
To make a living, I have to continue to work in an area that has not been cleared of cluster bombs yet, so I still take risks every day while working. I recently found another cluster munition in my field. I was really afraid it might explode, but I had to take it away and bury it so no children could play with it.
I hope that the Treaty will make a real difference in the way that contaminated areas will be de-polluted, so that I will be able to go to work without any fear, and that children will no longer risk finding cluster munitions more than 30 years after the end of the strikes.