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The story of people who “keep house rented” in a place… hidden in the mountains

Sleep more in the cemetery than at home

For 8 years with the profession of guarding the graves of the deceased, Mr. Nguyen Minh Toan (residing in Mong Hoa commune, Hoa Binh city) spent more time at the cemetery than at home.

Mr. Toan said, after many years of wandering in Hanoi, in 2015 he decided to return to his hometown to look for a job to be close to his family. He applied to work as a security guard at Lac Hong Vien cemetery (Hoa Binh) and has been with this job until now.

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Every shift, Mr. Toan patrols the grounds of the graves to prevent cattle from damaging or thieves entering.

Work shift starts at 6pm. Before handing over his shift, Toan carefully walked around the cemetery to see if there were any unusual problems. At night, he and a colleague took turns on duty.

“The job of a grave guard is like that of someone who stays in a rented house, regardless of the rain and wind, they must guard against the cattle on the hill to destroy and prevent and prevent crooks from breaking in and taking away valuables. .

This goes on day and night. The most difficult thing is being away from the family at night, sometimes when the children need their father and the wife needs their husband by their side, I am outside the cemetery working,” Toan shared.

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Taking care of the property of the deceased is the most stressful job for the guardians.

According to Mr. Toan, unlike a simple security job, a grave guard like him faces much more pressure because he not only looks after the grave grounds but has to preserve the assets that are both material and material values. especially because it is a memento left by the deceased.

“The protection of the grave is important, but most of all, guarding the items left by the people from the mountain.

There are many famous people’s graves here, the mementos they leave behind have great spiritual value, cannot be valued in money and cannot be bought back, if lost, do not know what to make up for.

Therefore, the brothers working here are very responsible. Every hill area I manage, I try to pay attention to where there are valuable things to keep an eye on,” Toan said.

Work pressure, less time to be with his family, there was a time when Mr. Toan looked for another job, but “the profession chooses people”, he went and returned.

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The profession chooses people, and Toan spends more time with the graves than at home.

Outside of work job Toan and members of the security team also do additional logistics work, specializing in burying the dead. He said, with the “dry grave” cases (cremated – PV), only 4 people are needed, but with “fresh grave”, it takes more than 10 people to complete the job.

“Here, most families have conditions, so in the case of “fresh graves”, relatives often put coffins made of precious wood such as jade, gold heart, which are very heavy. There are coffins with a lot of quartz stone. or molasses inside, weighing up to 7 quintals. The job was really hard at that time, “said Toan.

The charm of being a “receptionist” for the deceased

As the only female security guard at the cemetery, Ms. Tran Thi My (Lam Son commune, Luong Son district, Hoa Binh province) initially chose this job because the cemetery is close to her home.

For the past 10 years, she has been predestined to work as a “receptionist”, specializing in welcoming the deceased to their final resting place.

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The whole group protected dozens of people, My sister was the only pink shadow.

“My main job is to work as a night shift security guard, and this “receptionist” role came as a charm. At first I was scared to come here, but somehow in my heart I felt like someone invited me. call,” My sister said.

Every time someone passed away, Ms. My would hand over the work to her co-workers and then hold a towel in one hand, a bucket of water and a broom in the other, and go to the pre-determined grave, stooping to clean each real grave. meticulous.

“Usually when someone dies and is buried here, I receive information that I am going to the grave an hour earlier to clean the tables and chairs, clean the area of ​​that grave. Either way, I am the first to arrive first. and leave last when the burial is complete.

In many shifts, I only sleep 4-5 hours a day. It’s hard work, but compared to other manual jobs like working as a maid, this spiritual work is suitable for me, just a bit time consuming,” said My.

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In addition to the night shift security job, Ms. My also works as a “receptionist for the dead”.

According to Ms. My, Vietnamese people have the concept of “stars and stars”, when they want to live in a clean, airy house and campus, when they leave the afterlife, everyone wants to be buried. in the same place.

Therefore, when choosing this job, My always does it with the desire to help homeowners fulfill their filial piety.

She said that in the past, when she thought of work in the cemetery, she immediately thought of the elderly. Because only they are brave enough to “live with the dead”.

“At first when I accepted this job, I was also apprehensive because I had just worked in a remote place with many negative vibes, but I got used to it after doing it. Knowing how to do more jobs, I have more income, but not many people dare to stick with the job. this.

Someone applied to work the night shift for a few days, and was “teased” and scared to quit. Some people still bring garlic to work (laughs). Many times, I think about it, telling the elderly to keep it until now, “Ms. My laughed.

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My sister took advantage of every minute for mother and daughter to talk.

For nearly 10 years in the profession, many times, My sister “respects” herself when she chooses a job that is inherently male.

“Many rainy and cold nights, alone wearing a raincoat, still hovering between the rows of graves for 4-5 hours, some days, up to 3 graves are brought in, I do it all alone… my acquaintances are all satisfied (laughs). ).

Working here only loves the children because the mother has little time to be with her. My youngest son always asked for his mother when he was a child, fortunately when he is older, he has already gone to school, so he also understands his mother’s work, so that he can stick with this job until now,” My sister shared. shall.

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