Li Zheng (郑丽)'s Blog

Update: April 11, 2009

Dear Uncles and Aunts, Older Brothers and Older Sisters,

Hello! I am one of thousands of poor children. Before getting the scholarship, I was still a poor, scruffy girl from a mountain village who often couldn’t afford books and was looked down upon. From my childhood to my teenage years, growing up has been difficult, but because of your kindness, my fate has started to change. I’ve become a very lucky person. Because of your love, my heart is no longer empty, and thanks to your letters, I no longer feel lonely. Thanks to your help, my dreams are no longer just fantasies. When I felt most helpless, it was your hand that reached out and pulled me from the darkness. Words really can’t express how grateful I feel. I was so excited to receive your letters, because your warmth was proof that you care about me. My faith in education is also stronger. When I run into difficulties at school and in life, I will read your letters of encouragement. I wish I had the words to tell you how great it is, that I can write to people who care about me and tell them what is in my mind, what is going on in my life. It’s like having a good friend who you can tell anything, who gives you a taste of faraway places and the outside world, who sends good luck from far away. I don’t know if these wishes will ever come true, but I can still hope for them.

After a half year of high school, I am more focused on my goals, and I’ve improved a bit. Even though I’m not in the top rankings of our class, I still try very hard, as I know rank is not the most important thing. The most important thing is giving it your all and not giving up. I know that I have my parents’ expectations to live up to, so I don’t dare to be the least bit careless. I think my second semester grades will make me proud, even though my grades may not be highest in the class and I may not be ranked first. I dedicate most of my time to school, so I don’t really have time to participate in many extracurricular activities. When I go home, I have to help my parents – after all, I am a kid from a rural village. But this year, I might not be able to help my parents much – there might not be anything we can do. Our village was recently hit by a hailstorm, and all our crops were wiped out. Our village was hardest hit by the disaster, and my mom said that our neighbor’s chicken was killed by the hail. When I look at the tragic scene I cry. A flower’s fallen petals, a field that was once green that is now all yellow. Seeing the damaged cement tiles crushes my hopes. Seeing my dad’s sad smiles, hearing my mom’s sighs, it breaks my heart.

One evening, I accidentally overheard my parents talking. Mom was asking Dad, “This year our family’s harvest was a total failure, but her older brother is applying to college. Our family has no money – what are we going to do?” My dad was silent for a moment, and then he said, “If he can get in, I will do everything I can to make sure he can go to college.” I don’t know why, but at that moment, I had an impulse to go into the room and tell my parents I would drop out so my older brother can go to college. I felt very much like crying, but I fought back tears and forced a smile. My father could tell how I felt, and he told me, “We still don’t even know if your brother will get in. Don’t worry. If he gets in, he will go, but you will also continue to go to school. If you drop out, how will you pay back Aunt Zheng, who has taken such great pains to raise you?” So I never brought it up again. While walking to school, I discovered that my brother had cried. When I asked him about it, all he said was, “Keep working hard and get into college.” I know his dreams had come to nothing, and yet he keeps working and hasn’t given up, as he has confidence in himself and is a very strong boy. Since then, the burden on our shoulders has grown heavier. I know our family is struggling to pay for our living expenses, so I said to Mom that from now on my living expenses would be cut in half. This year I haven’t bought any new clothes, since all the others are still wearable. And then I thought, if I can save a little on books, I could lessen my parents’ burden. And so, this is how my plan began…

So, to my supporters in faraway places, I will definitely work hard and not disappoint you. If one day I could meet you face to face… I don’t know if these are unreasonably high hopes, but I can still be bold and say it, because these are my real hopes. Right now, I really don’t know how to express what I’m feeling, so I will stop writing. I’ll just write one more sentence: “Friends from faraway, thank you so much! Thank you for showing me this bit of kindness!”

Once more I want to thank you. I want to sincerely wish you well, wish that everything is going well at work, that you are healthy, and that every day you are happy!

Li Zheng

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