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PEACH – A Promise Made and Kept

03134 Ma Cui Ying
Translated by Nie Xu Min

I come from a poor mountain village in Yuanyang County. The name of village is Pujia. I am currently the secretary of the Youth League Committee of Azahe Township in Honghe County. It has been five years since I graduated from college. I started as a college student village official and have become a civil servant. My life journey has been hard, full of ups and downs.

I can never forget the hardships and difficulties I have endured. In the second year of middle school, my 92-year old grandmother was critically ill, my father had liver cancer. My grandma passed away that year. The funeral customs of Hani people are complex, elaborate, and difficult to describe. The old saying goes like this– one's life could be a miserable mess but her funeral must be beautiful. Only an extravagant funeral can prove the filial piety of children and grandchildren. After my grandma's funeral, my family was deeply in debt. The situation in my family kept getting worse. My father's health continued to deteriorate. His whole body was swollen. Since there was nothing the doctors in county hospital could do, my family tried treatment using traditional Chinese medicine (folk prescription) for my father. My father lost the fight with cancer when I graduated from junior high school. He left my mother with a completely broken heart. Fate is ruthless! From that day on, my mother took on all the family burdens alone. Without any source of income, we relied on my mother farming the land. Whether to let me continue to study became the most difficult decision for my mother.

"I don't want my daughter to be blind!" This was how my mother always replied when other people ridiculed her about sending me to high school. At that time, I didn't understand the meaning of mother's words. Now I do. She didn't want me to be illiterate like her! Every time at the beginning of school year, my mother always worried about my tuition. She tried to borrow from neighbors, enduring ridicules by others. People always told my mother that it was useless for me to study. Our relatives were reluctant to lend us money since they were afraid that we could not pay them back. At the most difficult times, we could not even afford white rice. My mother tried to cut down expense as much as she could and ate only one dish per meal. During these difficult times, I secretly made a wish. I wished that the road of life would be smooth and unimpeded, that I could receive loving care and support, that all troubles and pains would be far away from us.

I entered high school in 2002. On the first day of school, I met with headmaster Mr. Bai Hairong and talked about the difficulties of my family off and on for nearly an hour. High school is not part of compulsory education and not free. The cost is nearly 1000 yuan, which my family could not afford. At this time, a bright ray of light appeared in my life, and my wish was fulfilled! The school leaders recommended me to PEACH. PEACH would give me a grant of 800 yuan per semester. It is my good fortune to meet PEACH. And it gives me great motivation to study hard. Whenever I encountered problems during life and study, I would write and confide to PEACH. Aunts and uncles from PEACH would write back and enlighten me patiently every time. PEACH was with me every step of the way during my three high school years, being there for me all the time as an unfailing source of encouragement, guidance, support and help.

In July 2005, I started a new life journey and began my college life. On the day of receiving my acceptance letter, I wept alone for a long time, and I didn't want my mother to see me crying. Maybe my mother had shed tears several times, but she didn't want me to see her either. With the knowledge that I learned in high school, I applied for grants from many agencies. Just when I was struggling for tuition fees, PEACH's student loan program helped take off the pressure off me and allow me to enter university fully prepared.

In 2010, after graduation, I came to the general branch of Dong Zong Zhai village committee to work as Secretary Assistant (college student village official). I worked hard every day. Later I was selected to work in the Huang-Mao-Ling township civil affairs office. I passed the civil service test in October 2012. Three years after graduation from university, I paid off my PEACH student loan. I am giving my mother 500 yuan a month for living expenses. Today, although my family is not rich, I am enjoying a peaceful and happy life.

In 2013, I bought a 130 square meter house in the city with my salary loan. In 2014, I helped my family build a two-story brick/cement houses with my savings. I got married in October 2015. My family life is getting better and better.

 

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