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A Father's Love

04033 Zhang Jin Fu
Translated by Neil Sun

I come from an impoverished remote mountainous area. Our family grew crops and raised livestock to make a living. The income was not very stable. Sometimes we couldn’t even afford to eat rice, and live on corns and pickled vegetables only. Although my father is not well educated, he holds up many valuable standards. He taught us to finish our plates so that there is no waste. He taught us to study hard as knowledge is the key to alter our destiny. He often said that no matter how hard he has to work, if would be worthwhile to ensure the kids to receive good education, to grow up healthy, and to maintain an honest human being. Till this day, I am feeling the depth of my father’s love.

We were at a disadvantage in education at the starting point. We are Yi tribe and we grew up in an authentic Yi village where only Yi language is used. The teacher taught in Yi language in elementary school. So when I went to middle school in a bigger city, I didn't dare to speak very much because I was afraid other schoolmates would laugh at my choice of words and accent.

It was very difficult financially to support both my brother and me to go to school. But my father never thought of giving up. Though I was young, the picture of my parents’ sweat and tears from hard working was forever imprinted in my heart. At the time, my daily chores after school were to feed the livestock and work around the house. However, my brother was more into playing and was going through his rebellious period. His grade was lacking behind and he ignored father’s advice. Eventually he dropped out. Then the family’s hope was on me alone. I felt the responsibility. I vowed to myself to study hard and to become successful so that I can provide my parents with a good life and wave farewell to the impoverished mountain village.

In 2004, I was in the third year of junior high school in Niujiaozhai. In order to reduce expenses for my family, I traded my labor to board in a relative’s home. After learning about my situation, my teacher recommended me to the PEACH Foundation and I won their grant. PEACH Foundation gave me a bursary of 400 Yuan each semester which is used to cover my school tuition, fees and living expenses. This relieved my parents’ burdens and I was able to able to concentrate my studying.

Later I passed the Yuanyang No. 1 high school entrance exam. But following the happiness is the financial challenge. The cost of high school expenses is much greater and my parents simply did not have the money. PEACH Foundation doubled its bursary from 400 to 800 Yuan per semester. However, the family still has to make up the rest of expenses.

My father converted a space in the home and opened a small grocery store so that the villagers don’t have to travel far to buy living necessities. In addition, he sold bamboo basket at the farmers’ market in the city where I was studying. Every weekend, I would cook for him in the little rented house he had and shared the meal with him at the market. The meal was simple, but it was the moment I cherished the most to spend time with my father. Just like that with the extra family income, I could continue my education.

It may seem to be uneventful to others, but this is why I admire my father so much. As an under-educated person coming from a small village, he kept himself open-minded and used his creativity to devise a plan. His thinking was years ahead of so many others in the village.

In 2006, my sister-in-law passed away. She left behind a two-year-old girl and a baby boy who is still being nursed. The already poor family was in grief and suffered from a huge finance blow. It was the first time I experienced life and death. My parents seemed to age so much in those days.

My brother married at an early age and did not have a decent job. He was not mature enough to take on the responsibilities. Considering the two young children and my aging parents, I thought about giving up my studies and start working. However, PEACH Foundation continued its needed support and encouragement. In addition to financial aids, PEACH Foundation would send me clothing, stationeries, and other daily necessities. And I would share the unfitting clothing with my parents and relatives. My entire family benefited and felt the warmth from the organization. Aunt Zheng, founder of the PEACH Foundation, often come to my school and gave inspiring lectures. PEACH Foundation also holds summer camp to teach to PEACH kids on how to manage positive thinking toward life and how to maintain a healthy happy learning attitude.

In 2007, I was successfully admitted to go to the Preparatory Department of Nanchang Hangkong University in Jiangxi Province. This news is a mixture of happiness and worries for our family. While we were happy that the three years of my hard work finally paid off, and, of course, the financial worries of how to pay for the expensive college fees. Fortunately, I received PEACH Foundation interest-free loan, the Jiangsu Tao Xinbo Educational Grants, and the minority loan; I packed my bags and went to college. Later, I graduated in 2011.

In 2012, I passed the judicial examination and received my lawyer's certificate after the internship. I have being working at a law firm in Kunming. I have bought my own car and have built a happy family. I believe all my effort and hard work are worthwhile and they are bases for me to further achieve a happier and successful life.


 

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