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The Warm Years

04009 Ma Xiao Yu
Translated by Yao Hsu

I come from Yishi Village, a barren mountain village in Yunnan Province. I am the youngest child in the family. Due to the economic reason, my parents cannot support three children for education. Therefore, I go to school two years later than other children of my age. My family only relies on a few acres of farm field, which barely keep us from hunger. In my childhood memories, my parents are always out on the field early in the morning and come home late at night. Sometimes when we don't get enough income from the crop, my father has to go around and borrow money or rice from the relatives. They work so hard to support us that hopefully in the future we won't live the same condition as they do.

The most happiest moment in my childhood is Hani's New Year, which falls on the month of October in Chinese lunar calendar because that's the only time we can have new clothes and new sandals even though they are really cheap and it's also the special occasion that we serve meat on the table. Usually we can't afford any meat on the regular days and sometimes I have to fight with my elder brother for a piece of meat over the dish, but he always let me eat it since I am the youngest.

In 1997, I finished the third grade at the school which is near my house, and I was about to go to the village committee for the fourth grade, but the only problem was the tuition. At that time, I was so ignorant that I didn't consider my family hardship and still insisted on going to school. In order to let me go to school, my father had to borrow some money from the relatives. He helped me carry all the belongings and took me to the new school, Yepu Village Committee. That was the first time I left home and lived by myself.

In 2000, I was so happy to be admitted to Yuanyang No. 1 High School, but the most painful problem was still the tuition. Even though it was the most expensive one ever since, it was a rare opportunity to me and I couldn't give it up. My parents were also very excited that I got accepted and they didn't want me to stop learning, either. Therefore, my father had to borrow money again. It was not a proud or an easy task for him. Thankfully there were still some people who were willing to help us.

In 2003, I completed middle school and continued my high school education at the same school, Yuanyang No. 1 High School. The tuition and miscellaneous fees of high school were a huge burden for my family. In the beginning, we could barely manage the tuition by saving and loan, but my monthly living expenses had to rely on the income from my parents' doing some extra work. Fortunately right at that tough moment, I heard PEACH Foundation.

My life has been totally changed since I joined the foundation. A subsidy of 800 yuan per semester is something I can't even dream of and a huge help for my family. It basically solved all my problems and expenses. My parents no longer have to worry about my study and life. The winter in Yuanyang is extremely cold, and what makes children at PEACH overjoyed is that they send us a lot of clothes and pants to keep us warm at school. Till now, I still keep that one special coat which reminds me of many warm memories in the past.

During PEACH summer camp, Aunt Jeng's philosophy of happy life and words of encouragement from the volunteers have inspired me. They brought me the excitement of the outside world and also helped me solve many problems that had bothered me for a long time. Since then, I have become more eager for the outside world, and the desire to change my destiny has become stronger. With this determination, I successfully completed the high school.

In 2006, I got into Dali University as a freshman and graduated in July, 2010. Then, I worked as a programmer at the VTech Group in City of Dongguan. The initial salary was only two thousand yuan a month. In 2013, I left this company and went to a software company in Shenzhen to do a project for Huawei as a software engineer. By this time, my monthly salary had reached ten thousand yuan. In 2014, I moved to PCCW Information Technology Co., Ltd. in Guangzhou and worked as a consultant, which monthly salary had exceeded twelve thousand yuan. Now, both my family and I can live a very decent life and we have also rebuilt the old house. Although I haven't got married yet, I believe I will have a bright future and a wonderful life ahead.

 

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