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Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads

Rosie Nguyen Rosie Nguyen

ngtrang12.ftu@gmail.com

May 25, 2021 | 10:34

On the streets of Vietnam, there is a Belgian woman who silently picks up fallen sandals, which often go overlooked by many people.

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Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
Geralda De Vos and her bike with full of sandals. Photo: Thanhnien

“Hunting” garbage hobby

Geralda De Vos was born and raised in Belgium, she came to Vietnam to live and work in 2017. The mother of two babies has actively participated in social activities, especially environmental protection in recent years. These include meaningful activities such as helping to reduce plastic waste, recycling objects and promoting a environmentally-friendly lifestyle through picking up and returning people's lost items. One of her hobbies is picking up lost sandals from the street and stacking them on the back of her bike.

Talking about her passion for picking up sandals that fall on the street, Geralda De Vos said: “I like to pick up things I find on the road, you can call it garbage hunting. In Vietnam, I see a lot of sandals. I hesitated for a long time, not knowing whether to start collecting them or not, but once I started, I couldn't stop." Up to now, this lady has a collection of all kinds of sandals that fall on the street.

Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
Models of legendary honeycomb sandals made of Belgian women's materials. Photo: Thanhnien

In the fall of 2019, she began to create the famous "honeycomb sandals" model out of ceramics and hold exhibitions about the lost sandals. "I also want to build a hawker shop on a bicycle with all the lost sandals I find," the Belgian woman said.

Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
Models of legendary honeycomb sandals made of Belgian women's materials. Photo: Thanhnien

In the fall of 2019, she began to create the famous "honeycomb sandals" model out of ceramics and hold exhibitions about the lost sandals. "I also want to build a hawker shop on a bicycle with all the lost sandals I find," the Belgian woman said.

Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
The bicycle full of lost sandals that Geralda picked up. Photo: Thanhnien

She also did not expect that the falling sandals were also an opportunity for her to write a children's book whose main theme was the lost sandals on the road.

Is anyone looking for a lost sandal?

Geralda De Vos said that at first, she just wanted to have a few lines explaining the meaning of this bicycle full of falling slippers in the exhibition. Therefore, she started writing and envisioned a sandal collector, riding a bicycle.

“Every time I pick up a pair of children's sandals, I wonder, who lost the sandals, and if the child is looking for them. In my hometown, I am also known as "Gigi". A very close friend of mine in Hanoi said that “All the lost sandals you found belong to some Cinderella girl", so I thought of a character's name as Gingerella."

Geralda's story continues to entertain her children. "While riding a motorbike, I imagined the scene where Linh lost her slipper and met Gingerella. I told that story to my youngest son and based on his interactions, I started creating new details and expanding some parts of the story,” Geralda said.

Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
From picking up sandals, Geralda wrote a book about the lost sandals. Photo: Thanhnien
Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
"The lost sandal" book by Geralda. Photo: Thanhnien

Geralda De Vos said: “My childhood dream was to be a writer, but I have cherished that dream for so long, even to this day. I believe that the first purpose of children's books is to bring joy and imagination to children's lives. Whatever value is derived from here is up to the reader. Some readers will check to see if they have their two slippers in each morning. Some are inspired to wear quirky sandals. Others may try harder to find lost items."

The Lost Sandal" published by Kim Dong Publishing House is a picture book that two foreign female authors specially write about Vietnamese children, for Vietnamese children to read. The book tells the journey to find the beloved sandal accidentally dropped by little Linh. She uses many ways to find the sandal, such as painting posters at the grocery store, writing letters to everyone in the area where the lost sandal is. Fortunately, the lost sandal fairy appears, bringing a lot of fun to the readers.

Geralda De Vos said: “My childhood dream was to be a writer, but I have cherished that dream for so long, even to this day. I believe that the first purpose of children's books is to bring joy and imagination to children's lives. Whatever value is derived from here is up to the reader. Some readers will check to see if they have their two sandals in each morning. Some are inspired to wear quirky sandals. Others may try harder to find lost items."

Belgian woman in Vietnam: Pick up lost sandal on roads
This Belgian woman also has an equally interesting experience of collecting helmets and other objects on the street. Photo: Thanhnien

She shared that the years of living in Vietnam gave her a lot of love for the country and people here. In particular, not only picking up fallen sandals on the street, this Belgian woman also has an equally interesting experience of collecting helmets and other objects on the street. “I love writing more stories about Vietnam. Hopefully the items I have just picked up will be discovered in the next books soon,” she laughed happily.

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Rosie Nguyen