PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
November, 2012, issue No. 33
Dear PEACH partners:
In the past two months, PEACH has been very busy with the Volunteer Understanding Tour and staff home visits, and I would like to share some of the highlights from these trips with you.
From October 20th to October 27th, thirteen volunteers visited a total of 31 PEACH studentsÕ homes in the Yuanyang and Honghe Counties, where we witnessed a severe over-population problem in these poor families. Several young couples in their 30Õs have four or more children. In order to support their large families, the parents often seek additional manual labor beyond their usual farmland duties, and leave the housework to the older siblings. When we saw messy children trying to take care of even messier younger siblings in an unbearably chaotic condition, we could not help but gently advise the parents not to have any more children.
October 27th 2012 was an incredible day where the volunteers had a chance to meet with 380 PEACH students that are either attending colleges in Kunming or working in the area after graduating from college. It was such a beautiful and rewarding experience for all the volunteers to see the fruits of our hard work and love.
On October 28th, the staff and I went further into the poorest region of Yunnan Province. This fall was the first time we explored the Nujiang River Region beyond the Lushui County where we visited before. The Nujiang River is an important river in China that flows from north to south, and this time, we followed the river up north to a town called, Bingzhongluo, only about 14 miles from Tibet. The Nujiang River surges between Gaoligong Mountain on the west and Biluo Snow Mountain to the east. The altitudes of these mountains are very impressive at over 10,000 feet. The river water rapidly rushes between the mountains and the waves can crash very high, forming a very spectacular sight that reminded me of the dangerous Suhua highway in Taiwan.
Most farmers in the region live up in these rocky mountains or in the Nujiang valley where it is difficult to find flat land to farm. During our trip, we saw the locals using the Nujiang Liusuo to carry building materials on the tightrope to reach the other side of the river. Compared to this amazing ŅflyoverÓ technique of travelling, our car travel in the region is slightly better. Even so, driving in the area was extremely difficult because of the challenging road conditions. One day, it took us more than 12 hours to travel about 100 miles. We are currently studying ways in which we can make future PEACH Volunteer Understanding Tours to the area possible.
For the 2013 PEACH Volunteer Understanding Tour, we are planning to go to the beautiful Lugu Lake in Ninglang County in Yunnan Province. The dates are from October 25th to October 31st 2013. We invite you to join us.
Lugu Lake is located on the border between Ninglang Yi Autonomous County in Yunnan Province and Yanyuan County in Sichuan Province. Mystery and charm surround the lake, partly because it still retains much of its natural beauty. What is more, the Mosuo people who live in the Lugu Lake region formed a matriarchal society. In this culture, Mosuo women take on a powerful leading role in the family. Children are brought up by women and use the surname of their mothers. But probably the most interesting and famous aspect of Mosuo culture is the practice of Ņwalking marriages,Ó where couples do not marry, but instead, the women can choose and change their partners at will.
Also next year, the 2013 PEACH English Summer Camps, which are scheduled as follows. We invite you to join us for these special events as well, as there are still spaces available. The deadline for registration is 1/31/2013, first comes, first served.
2013 PEACH English Summer Camps:
First Session: 7/9/2013 Š 7/20/2013 at Yuanyang County, Yunnan Province
Second Session: 7/21/2013 Š 7/30/2013 at Yulong County, Yunnan Province
Third Session: Elementary Summer Camp, conducted by PEACH College Students (time/location: TBD)
Finally, in 2013, we plan on adding 600 new students into our family. We need and appreciate your continued support. Please consider supporting us in your year-end planning. We have also attached some PEACH studentsÕ biographies, which are a part of our collection entitled ŅDeep in Our HeartsÓ. Thank you.
I would like to donate ______ to the Laurice children medical funds (at an average of US$20 per child.)
I would like to send ______ children to attend Summer Camp (at US$50 each for one week.)
I would like to donate ______ to scarf and mitten funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to thermal-pajama funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to mosquito net funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to the library funds (at US$20 per library)
I would like to donate ______ to the foundation administration funds
I would like to donate _____ to the mini-loan for middle and high school studentsÕ living expenses (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate ______ to the college loan funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate ______ (laptop computer/ digital camera/ cell phone)
I would like to increase my sponsorship to ___ high school students and ___ middle school students; the yearly costs are US$250 for a high school student, US$125 for a middle school student.
Please make check payable to PEACH FOUNDATION.
Donors in Taiwan please change the amount to New Taiwan Dollars, payable to PEACH FOUNDATION, Account No.: 50011068 and it is tax deductible.
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Phone：650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688
11163 Yang XX, 9th grade, Female
I was born in a backward mountain village in Yuanyang County, Yunnan. Because the economy at home was bad, my older sister went to school first even though we were both old enough to attend school. Watching my peers go off to school carrying their backpacks while I played at home by myself, I asked my father if I could go to school. However, he refused my request because my family did not have enough money to send me. Still, I could not wait so I would stand outside the school window to listen to the teacher teaching. I would often be so captivated that I wouldnÕt notice that the class had ended.
As the teacher taught the class Pinyin characters and how to read, I would silently recite the lessons with them. If I didnÕt understand certain words, I would go home and ask my older sister, who would then patiently teach them to me. Once while I was listening in as usual, the teacher suddenly left the classroom. Upon seeing me, she stopped, knelt down, and asked if I really wanted to learn. I nodded my head. She then took me inside the classroom and handed me some tattered, worn books without asking for the schoolÕs tuition fee. Even though they are old books, I am really happy. After all, I now have books and have finally become a student.
11178 Ma XX, 9th Grade, Female
For my sake, my father left home to work, returning home only once per year. I donÕt even know what type of work he does for a living. When I was in fourth grade my mother couldnÕt come up with my tuition fee and at the time my father couldnÕt come back for a year and a half. Because of my tuition, my mother and I decided to carry some rice and try to sell it at the market. It happened to be a rainy morning and the roads were very slippery. The rice was packaged in plastic bags, and I slipped often and when my mother asked if I got injured I said no when in fact I was in pain. I told myself this little bit of pain is nothing, motherÕs pain is exponentially greater and she never says a word. We spent the entire day at the market selling rice, and when other peopleÕs rice bags were all sold, not one customer even glanced over at ours. At last three customers came over to look at our rice, but two of them said the rice is not good. 1 kg for only 8 Mao. Mom said: How is it not good rice, itÕs so white! The customers all had a lot of excuses, I stood next to my mom and tears just kept falling down my cheeks. The third customer saw me and asked how much is 1 kg of rice? Mom said: 1 RMB = 1 kg. The customer said: ThatÕs so cheap, IÕll buy it all. At that moment I felt so happy and wanted to cry so much, IÕm very grateful to this ŅuncleÓ for it is he who gave me my confidence.
Later my father became severely ill and was hospitalized and needed 5000 RMB. The money he earned from his work and the money mother and I earned from selling rice was all used up. At that time, I took care of all the household chores and every time I did a chore I told myself: Being strong is my greatest strength. But I just couldnÕt do it. Only one more day left before school started and I wished dearly for my father to recover quickly Š wishing I could go to school the second day. I know thereÕs little hope in that wish because thereÕs not even 1 cent in the house and mom and dad arenÕt even at home. I can only vicariously watch my classmates go to school. As I sat on the steps of our front door, my teacher walks by and says ŅHow come you are not going to check out your textbooks?Ó I said, ŅI will get them later.Ó My teacher knows my current family circumstance and he says to me, ŅThis set of books is extra; nobody is going to use them anyway so IÕll just give them to you.Ó I am so very thankful to my teacher for it is he who gave me the chance to continue my education. If it werenÕt for his understanding and help, then I would not be the person I am today.
10049 He XX, 9th grade, Female
I live in a remote village in the mountains. Life in the mountains is harsh; most families have very low income. Every time there is a flood, a snow storm or a drought, the crop yield become very low, and we might have to starve. My family owns little land, so we have to eat potatoes instead of rice. Recalling the year when the village distributed free food, which was the first time I saw and tasted rice, and realized how delicious it was. My family also couldnÕt afford to buy clothing; our old clothing was mended again and again. And one time my classmates laughed at me when they saw a big tear on my shirt.
During the harsh winter, our house collapsed after being attacked by a sudden snow storm. I stood in the snow, bear-footed with only one layer of clothes, crying with pain. After quit some effort, my parents lifted it back up, but still, it was slanted. Every snow storm after that was torture for me. I was afraid of the house collapsing again and having to stand in the snow. When we have fought through a harsh winter, rain storms came. The house was fine, but the crops were ruined. Just like an old saying: Misfortune never comes alone. Whenever it was pouring outside the house, it would also drizzle inside the house. I canÕt even recall how many times IÕve been through these experiences.
I started school two years later than my peers because of my familyÕs poverty. On the first day of school, I saw my classmates wearing new clothes and caring new back packs, and looking at my old shirt, I was so envious. However, I appreciate my clothes, because theyÕre all IÕve got. In school, my friends often made fun of me. Sometimes they even called me ŅbeggarÓ and didnÕt welcome me to play with them. Education in the village was poor; despite going to school, we didnÕt have actual teachers or text books. I lived far from home and couldnÕt afford to buy lunch, so every time I saw my classmates eating buns, I would crave to try some, even if it was a little piece.
Disasters didnÕt end. One time my brother and his wife got into a serious fight, and they burned the house under anger. This house built with my parentsÕ years of hard work. Watching her house vanish in the conflagration, mom could no longer hold her tears. From then on, mom had to borrow money to rebuild the house, and our lives in the family started to further deteriorate as we often had to starve.
The time in elementary school went by very fast. Facing the large expense of middle school, mom and dad were troubled again. But they told me that they would support my schooling even if they had to sell everything. On the first day of middle school, mom bought me a new shirt. That was the first time in my life wearing new clothes, and it felt great. But mom was still wearing her mended old clothes, and when we entered the school, everyone looked at us oddly. I eat very little every day, sometimes only two buns. But I donÕt feel hungry because my family members havenÕt even had buns before.
During eighth grade, my year of hard working, disaster struck again. Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, and because we couldnÕt afford medication, she left us on August 5th, 2008. Since then, I could no longer see her and to be loved by her again. After she left, my family couldnÕt pay for my schooling anymore. I wanted to drop school, but dad refused to let me. At first I was unable to walk out from the sorrow of losing my mom, but dad told me: Do not let the tragedies repeat themselves. No matter how much pain you are in, always work hard and never stop trying.
With the help from some kind people, I was able to reenter the classroom. I have regained confidence and hope to pursue my dreams.