Estelea's Blog

French proud Mum and wife, restless explorer and doer freshly landed in Hanoi. One Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “kids friendly” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

How do you say Greta in Vietnamese?


The new riches in town are selling air imported from Canada, Norway and Switzerland. You can buy your life saving kit on Facebook obviously and in almost every Embassy and International hospital.

If only!


The situation in Hanoi is getting worse by the week. This morning the AQI was on “dangereux” meaning “hazardous”. Everyone may experience serious health effect and we should all avoir being outside. I am among the privileged ones who has an air purifier and an deshumidifier at home in each of our bedrooms. Still it does not prevent us from caughing, feeling dizzy and experiencing countless headaches. And yes, we are religiously wearing our masks outside.

But what about the people who don’t have all those first world gadgets? Our cleaner is driving 30 mn to reach our home in the hyper polluted traffic and her mask is not the kind you find in the expats shops. She shares her bedroom with her husband and her 2 daughters, one being asthmatic. She is the majority of the Hanoian population. She  witnesses the constant eruption of ridiculously fancy building in town and in the rich districts and is has lost hope to ever see the metro that will enable her to leave her scooter at home …

It just drives me crazy. Vietnam will not have Greta, not the kind of guest they like. In this kind of country, climate strikes would simply be forbidden any way, and you don’t really want to mess with the autorities… In the meanwhile, the health situation keeps on worsening. At least we expats know we can ( and will!) leave this country. But not our Vietnamese friends.

I am feeling so useless, eventhough we are the cliché of the “green family”: we reduce, reuse, recycle at length, and we do our best not to waste. List all the things “eco responsible” people should be doing and I am sure I can cross them “checked”. But Greta is right. This is not enough. It’s like wanting to stop a flood in the house with our pinky finger.

I know .. I know.. we all can make a tiny difference and at some stage it will get better of course; but today pollution is drowning me in doubts and questions.

5 comments on “How do you say Greta in Vietnamese?

  1. Indrajit Roy Choudhury
    September 30, 2019

    Yes, pollution is a big problem. The developed countries are the main culprit and they are still going on like the US. All developing countries are using fossil fuels to catch up with the development, but at a huge cost!

    • estelea
      September 30, 2019

      Such a shame ! And how insane is it to hear Trump and his friends being in total denial ?! I really hope this new generation will make things moving in the right direction, finally. Unfortunately they don’t have any other option if they still want to breathe properly .

  2. lexklein
    September 30, 2019

    Oh, man, I have days too where I feel so discouraged. (Especially, as you say, when my own country and president are being so thick-headed). We all need to do our little parts; like you, we try and try, but we need big changes too. Hope our world leaders will see the light before it’s too late.

    • estelea
      October 1, 2019

      first thing I read about this morning was that Hanoi’s Air Quality Index was (and still is) the highest in the world, surpassing the World Health Organization’s PM2.5 safety limit by 14.9 times! But also that a dozen Hanoian an a few expats had started a strike last Friday for a bit over 1h in the center. It was only reported yesterday but got lots of attention on FB and many people want to join the next … let’s see how it turns, you ll know where to find us 😉 xxx

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