Dear Givology community,
My family lives in a very remote mountainous village. When I was in the 2nd grade, my father became disabled due to an incident. My family borrowed a large sum of money to have my dad treated. At the time my second elder brother and I were both going to school. I was in 2nd grade and he was in 6th grade. When the accident happened to my dad, due to the extreme financial difficulty, my brother discontinued his school. Our family was categorized as “Extreme Poverty” family, nevertheless the subsidy we received was meager and it was only a few hundred RMB (around $50 dollars). The subsidy could not even cover the school supplies for my brother and me. My dad’s eyesight suffered severely after the accident. In addition where we live was so mountainous and isolated, we did not let my dad to work in the field. Therefore the income was very unstable. Especially this year, because of the weather our harvest was not even half as last year.
Because of the financial situation, we have never worn any clothes without patches. My brother wears nothing but hand-me-downs. I only have one new outfit per year. When I was younger, I did not quite understand and often beg my mom for new clothes. Later when I saw all the cracks on my mom’s hands, I felt so bad and regretful. Now I am going to school and only get to go home once a month as my home is far away and I cannot afford to go home more often due to the bus fare.
Since the accident, my mom had to go out to find work and also take care of all of us. When I was little, I always wonder why other children can have their mom home with them all the time whereas I only had my dad home. For some years, I only see my mom half of the year. I have never seen anyone as hardworking as my mom. She works in the field and she also needs to go out of the village to find work. Since I started to have memory, every summer and winter vacation, I will help my family out in the field as well.
My mom tries to go out to find work when we are on school breaks. She would return before school starts. When she is working outside, she spends as little on food and boarding as possible and tries to save every single penny by eating so she can have enough to cover my brother’s and my school fees. At the time of harvest, she returns to work tirelessly on harvest. In addition she also keeps pigs in the hope of earning a bit more money.
My brother later had to make the tough decision of discontinuing school as he observed how hard my mom works. At the time he was only into his third year in middle school. My mom does not want to see that happen and told him:”Son, please continue the school. Mom will do whatever I can to support your schooling.” My brother could not bear to have my mom work alone to support the whole family and therefore quit school.
In the most recent year, my mom stopped going out to work as my dad’s health condition is worsening. She toils in the soil for the whole day. My heart aches when I see my mom’s exhausted face. I do not want to see my mom labor so much and I hope I can give her better life. Every day I am determined to save on my food, clothes and school supplies so to give less burden to my family. Our house is so old and so torn. The roofing has log needed repair as we have rain water dripping through the roof whenever it rains hard.
My parents constantly feel guilty of not being able to make enough money to support my brother’s schooling. My brother quit school before his adulthood. Though he wants to find work to support family, no place would hire him because of his age. All he could do is working in the field and waiting to be 18 years old. I feel so helpless as no matter how hard my family work, there seems barely enough money to cover basic living and my school fees. There was no surplus to pay back the debt we borrowed a few years ago at all.
All I can do is to study hard. Therefore one day I can give my family a better life so they do not have to suffer so much. Thank you for reading my letter.
Chen Li Jiao (Chen Li Jiao)'s Blog
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