Heaven On Earth CBingZhongluo

By Peggy Liou

 

Fifteen PEACH Foundation volunteers made a once in a lifetime trip to the NuJiang Region in China during late October 2014. NuJiang is one of the most remote areas in the southwestern part of China. We travelled along the NuJiang (Anger River) from the southern tip of the region to the most northern town called BingZhongluo by the narrow roadway along the river, more than 150 miles each way. The Anger River flows between the magnificent Biluo Snow Mountains and Gaoli Snow Mountains, and the scenery is picture perfect. However, the beautiful backdrop of this virgin land also presented great challenges for our purpose of visiting PEACH childrens homes.

During the week, we met more than 200 PEACH sponsored children in their schools and visited 15 childrens homes. We hiked miles on hilly muddy roads and walked through sugarcane, corn, and potato fields before reaching their homes. All PEACH children came from extremely poor families, but we were still shocked to witness the reality of their poverty firsthand.

Wu, a 7th grader in ShangJiang lost both of his parents within a few months of each other two years ago. His older sister was forced to drop out of school after graduating from middle school. Their only income comes from the government, which averages approximately $17 a month. Their home is so sparse that we could not imagine how they made it thus far.

A 10th grader, Hu, lost her mother years ago and her father is also in poor health. However, he has been killing himself to support his two daughters to stay in school. Hu left a letter for us because she was hoping we would visit, but was afraid that her father would not be able to communicate well with us due to their local dialect. In her letter, in addition to her appreciation of PEACH, she expressed so much love and gratitude for her father. Hus skinny and weathered father could not hold his tears back while we read out the letter, and there was not a dry eye among the visitors.

Zhang, from the town of Laowo lives with her father and her 80 year old grandma. Her mother abandoned their poor family years ago. When we arrived, Zhangs crippled grandma was sitting on the ground, leaning on a pole that supports the house. Grandma struggled to sit herself up to a little stool as soon as she saw us coming, but almost lost her balance. Our volunteer reached out and tried to help her, and was emotionally unprepared when their hands touched each other. Grandmas bony, cracked, hardworking hands told the stories of her life, even though we could not understand a word she said.

Yi also came from Laowo. Her mother supported her family, because her father is mentally challenged. Unfortunately, her mother had a terrible car accident a few months earlier and is now completely bedbound. When it rains, it pours. Yi is a petite girl for her age, and the sadness on her face really broke our hearts.

In the town called Gudeng, we met two young female siblings. Their father passed away last year, and their mother was recently assaulted by a neighbor and still in critical condition. Their family did not have much before, and overnight the roof collapsed on them without any warning. We found ourselves speechless when we witnessed the hardships those innocent children face. Our hearts ached, but we also felt blessed we could offer some help and hopefully make their lives a little better.

The morning before we left BingZhongluo, this little village was completed blanketed by the dense misty fog. It was so beautiful and amazingly peaceful, which made me understand why the locals nicknamed their village, Heaven On Earth. I did not dare to look back when our car drove away, because I was not sure if I was strong enough to carry all the pain and heartache beneath the fog.