Nested at the foot of Cam mountain in An Hao Commune, Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province, amid a vast green area with breathtaking view, An Hao Solar Farm has added colors to and made Bay Nui (seven mountains) more mighty and especially help the life of the local people turn a new page and escape poverty.
Not simply a tourist site, the solar farm has also nurtured and brought cultural values into the landscape and heritage of the mountainous region, significantly increased its investment in developing infrastructure facilities and related services, as well as contributed to the stable social, economic, and political development of the southwestern border region.
A couple of years ago, when visiting An Hao, many people would immediately think of it as a poor moutainous commune where there was little land for production, no electricity, no clean water, no paved roads and children could not go to school. The poverty had been haunting the locals all year round, prompting the farmers to abandon their paddy fields, and young people to leave their villages for other places to look for jobs. In the dry season, even weeds withered in deserted fields. Maybe no one at that time could believe that this place now has become a tourist attraction worth thousands of billions of dong.
However, everything has changed when the construction of the Sao Mai solar power plant project began and then the An Hao Solar Farm was developed. Hundreds of local people were employed with stable incomes, while many people who earlier had left their hometown to make a living also returned home.
Talking with Chau Hoang Minh, director of the An Hao Solar Farm, we learned that half of the employees at the solar farm are local residents. Many of them are ethnic minority people and even some have gained trust and were selected to hold high posts at the tourist site.
We had a quick talk with Chau PhuonL, a staff taking care of bonsai trees at the tourist site. The simple-minded man with strong physical appearance said to us blissfully: “I and my older brother came to the tourist site for work since the beginning of the year, when the solar farm project was under construction. Since we started working here, our lives have become more stable. If we stay at home and cultivate one rice season per year, we will still be jobless during the rest of the year. Now, we not only have improved income but also receive meal allowances from the company, thus everyone are pleased and wish to work here for a long time.”
Under the solar panel layers shining radiantly are workers that are laboriously sowing green seeds into a tough land. They, saying nothing to each other, are focusing on their own tasks assiduously and seriously. Also, we can feel the honesty of the mountainous people still remaining intact, the gratefulness toward the company’s kindness for the Khmer people.
From an agriculture-only area, the An Hao people knew how to move from farming works to other jobs and develop various commerce and services such as food stores, restaurants, hotels to meet tourists’ demand, resulting in the locals’ life being improved. Besides this, the awareness of protecting tourism resources and the environment of the locality has been increasingly improved, enabling tourists at home and abroad to fully relish the beauty of the mountainous region.
Aside from bringing about economic benefits to the locals, the tourist site also helped An Hao shed the gloomy look and put on a new coat. Many roads were paved by the investor and hundreds of decent houses were built. Given such convenient traffic conditions, the number of visitors to the locality is on the rise and the distance between rural and urban areas has been steadily shortened.
The light from the solar farm now has spread over the That Son area and the new energy from now on will spread further to turn tough lands into green areas, which will be home to wide paved roads, clean agricultural zones and modern tourism projects. All these things are gradually taking shape, making a magical change for this place, creating an economic breakthrough for the southwestern region, and opening new chapters in the journey encouraging the region to growth stronger.