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The guardian angels in my life

02053 He Jian Qiang
Translated by George Wang

My hometown is in the enchanting 2nd village of Luzishan, Huangmaoling town, Yuanyang county, Yunnan. It is a barren hill but my heart is always captivated by its beauty. This is the place where I came to this world and grew up during my youth.

I had a good childhood with parents and an elder brother. Our family was not wealthy, but we were a close-knit family. My parents pampered me with their love and I excelled in school. In 1995, while in fourth grade, my father passed away from illness. At the time I did not fully comprehend the severe turn of fortune that was coming down on us. I saw mom crying and I ran to her and cried with her. I didn’t realize that our life was to be ruined by the loss of income source. Afterwards, Mom worked harder, my brother was seldom at home, and we stretched to make ends meet. We were hardly a normal family anymore. Yet, it never occurred to me that one day I might have to drop out of school.

In 1997, I graduated as the top student of my class and entered the No.1 High School of Yuanyang. Later In the year, mom went out of town to earn a living. I saw her only when I travelled to her workplace to collect a living expense. Sometimes we met on a monthly basis; more often we didn’t. Upon seeing her weary countenance, I came to fathom the extent of her sacrifice in order to sustain my education. The thought of quitting school started to loom in my mind.

Once, as I remember it vividly, I went to see mom for money and found her injured from carrying heavy loads of bananas. I hid myself behind her back and cried for a long time. Later my swelling eyes gave me away. She comforted me and said she was fine and the important thing was for me to focus on my studies. It was at this juncture that I came to the decision of quitting school to ease her burden. It was not that I did not appreciate education, I just didn’t want her to suffer anymore. Back to school, I packed my luggage and asked to be released. Luckily, my teachers, classmates and relatives all showed support and urged me to stay. I am grateful to all of them, especially Mom, for keeping me in school.

I gradually put my heart back into studying and excelled throughout high school. Mom and my brother took turns to support me financially. We encountered many obstacles along the way and we overcame every one of them.

Just when I was preparing myself for the college, a tragedy happened to us. In 2001, my brother was killed in an accident during work. At the time he already had his own family and a one-year old daughter. A relative came to the school to take me home without telling me the reason. Fearing that I might be overcome with grief, he only told me that I was needed at home. I was totally in the dark until I reached home.

As I walked into the house, the casket appeared in my sight. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t cry. I was dazed and could not believe it was real. I was ushered in to be next to Mom. Her swelling eyes, hoarse voice and feeble body confirmed the calamity. My brother was forever gone. It hurt so much and I had no clue on what would happen to me next.

I blamed myself for the death of my brother. What if I had quit school earlier, would he be still alive? Would he still be alive if he stayed home? What would have appened if it wasn’t for me being in the school? First, it was my father; now, my brother. He was gone and there was nothing that could bring him back. I had to be strong to take care of Mom and to be her pillar of support. We needed each other and we needed to stand steadfast. At a minimum, we had to try our very best.

After the funeral, my sister-in-law went back to live with her Mom. (She later remarried.) Our family now consisted of Mom, me and my toddler niece. Life was difficult and I was literally on the brink of dropping out of school. Some relatives suggested that I quit school; others said I should get married (at my tender age!) to have a wife who could help Mom and my niece.

I was sad and dispirited by the misfortunes that life had imposed on me. I also knew that my heart desired for education. On the surface, continuing school seemed to be a selfish decision, yet it was not. I had known for a long time that education was the key for a better future. Quitting school would help family financially in the short term, yet it meant that I would be repeating the same life of my parents’. A life of endless hardship, work laborious in the field and with little to hope for. Then again, how could my family afford my education? I struggled and could not make up my mind. Eventually, mom insisted that grandma could help taking care of my niece and I should return to school.

I went back to school after repeated pleas from mom. I decided to take one day at a time and study hard until the day when I couldn’t. At least I would have done my best and there would be no regret on my part. Fortunately, at this juncture in life, PEACH came to rescue me like an angel. PEACH brought new prospects to my life financially and spiritually. With PEACH’s support, all obstacles became manageable. I completed high school and was admitted by an elite university. The high tuition became another hurdle. Again, PEACH offered a student loan and I was on my way to attend the college of my dreams.

In the college years, I joined PEACH’s summer program and visited young students at their home. The incomes from these house visits in the summer as well as other part-time work helped to pay for my living expenses. PEACH was with me all these four years, encouraging, caring, and cheering for me. Without a hitch, I graduated from college and landed a fulfilling job.

It has been a few years since I entered the workplace. From a software technician, I have risen to system design senior engineer with a commensurate salary. I spend most of my time working with a computer writing code and designing product specifications. On the weekend, I visit scenic sites or meet with friends. I am settled in the city and enjoy my time here. I am happily married and we have an adorable daughter. The dream of owning my own house and car is quite achievable. Of course, I always remember where I came from: the village and my beloved friends and relatives. I have taken over the financial responsibility of supporting my niece and also pitched in for my cousin’s expenses. I contributed to village activities and helped relatives with their college tuitions. In the office, I gave generously for worthy causes.

I have experienced a lot. Too many heartbreaking incidents and too much griefs have befallen me. I staggered and stumbled for a long time between hopefulness and helplessness. I was constantly searching for ways to survive, to persevere, and not to abandon my dream. I was lucky to have so many angels supporting and guarding me along the way.

All along my life journey, PEACH has stood by me. I would like to express my gratitude to PEACH and to people who have rendered assistance to me. I am very happy with my current life for which I owe to you. The only regret I have is that my dad and my brother are not around to benefit from my success. The thought of them always makes me sad.

With great gratitude, I am indebted to all of you. My journey goes on…

 

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