photo of woman and child reading a book
Windy Nguyen reads while her mother Anh looks on.

Far from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, the Nguyen family has found a home in Yarmouth and at its library.

The Nguyen family has lived in Yarmouth for a little more than two years, moving here from Ho Chi Minh City, the capital with a population of 9.3-million people.

“My husband got a job at A.F. Theriault,” says Anh Nguyen. A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. Is a boatbuilding operation in Meteghan.

The family began looking to move to Canada, seeking a better quality of education for their two children, Windy, 9, and Mip, 3, moving here in February 2022.

Ho Chi Minh City was very crowded, polluted and filled with traffic, she says.

She says it was hard to access things such as school, libraries and recreational facilities. Windy had to get up very early to get to school, eating breakfast in the car.

Throughout the interview, Windy flipped through the pages of various books while keeping an ear to the conversation.

Windy enjoys the library because she can “read the books and get entertained.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Vietnam, Windy had to study online. She attended a Canadian school that followed the Vietnamese curriculum. Studying was very difficult because Windy was learning to read, and the classes had written instruction. This meant Windy’s father had to sit with her during her studies.

Windy loves reading, but the school’s strict focus on grammar and composition “killed the love for reading,” Anh says.

The family wanted their children to enjoy activities beyond school work, which was not possible.

Ho Chi Minh City has a wonderful library and some recreational activities, but they were in areas that were hard for the family to reach, Anh says.

They learned that their new home had many activities within walking distance from their place in Yarmouth.

Anh commends YREACH-Yarmouth for providing them with information and guidance once they arrived in the community. YREACH staff showed them how to access places such as the Yarmouth library and Mariners on Main, a facility offering a wide range of activities such as a pool, gym, fitness centre and other programming.

“We usually walk to the library,” she says.

The library is important to the family because it is a comfortable, safe environment for reading and meeting other children.

Windy also looks forward to the craft program with library clerk Carol Wing every second Friday.

“We have somewhere to read what we want,” Anh says. She adds that Windy learns about respecting others at the library and putting books back in their proper place.

She would love to see more activities for children.

“This age they really want to explore,” she says.