On the way from Che Lau village to border marker 325, Old Senh said that his whole life is attached to forest land, border, and markers, thus he knows the over 4km-long path from his home to marker 325 like the back of his hand. “I always see myself as responsible for protecting border and markers, actively assisting the border guard force to protect national border,” he said.

If there is nothing unexpected, every two days, the old man walks to border marker 325 to tidy up its surroundings and clean the marker to be shiny. He makes careful checks, and promptly reports to local border guards if he finds any unusual signs in the border area and on border marker.

Patriarch Thao Van Senh

Many people thought Senh was doing the work that was not assigned to him. Whenever he heard that, he just laughed and explained to them about the meaning, purpose, and importance of protection of the border and border markers.

Many times directly accompanying patriarch Senh in disseminating information about national law, Senior Captain Cao Van Tuan, Head of the Mass Mobilization Team of the Border Post of Na Meo International Border Gate, said, “Old Thao Van Senh is an exemplary and responsible person at work. He has become our trusted “source” of information. We consider him a family member. He often told us that the villagers are very honest and if we set an example for them, they will follow whatever we say.”

In a conversation, Lieutenant Colonel Truong Van Hai, Head of the Border Post of Na Meo International Border Gate, said that patriarch Senh is an emotional person and always gives support to the unit’s troops in performing tasks in the area.

Col. Hai added that with the engagement of Old Senh in protecting the border marker, no violation at the area of marker 325 has been recorded over the past years. The border officer said that Old Senh's enthusiasm and active participation in protecting security in the border area have inspired other villagers. As a result, more and more people are registering to join patrols to protect border markers.

For more than 30 years of patrolling and protecting border markers, Old Senh is very reputable among the villagers. Dozens of certificates of merit awarded by all levels and departments are hung in his wooden house. The house is also a place where locals often visit to meet and ask for his suggestions to their problems. Even though he is busy, he is always happy to receive them and give them advice because he knows that local people and border guards trust him.

Translated by Chung Anh