Promoting Education, Art, and Community Harvest
PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
November 2014, issue No. 39
Translated by Peggy Liou
Dear Friends of PEACH，
2014 Volunteer Understanding Tour took place in Yunnan Province, NuJiang Region from October 25th to November 1st. Fourteen volunteers traveled LuShui, FuGong, and GongShan counties where they met hundreds of PEACH students in schools and visited fifteen students’ homes.
In NuJiang Region, most people live on the hillside or deep in the mountains of Biluo Snow Mountains and Gaoli Snow Mountains, where the altitude is approximately 8000 to 10,000 feet. Because of the geographic constraints, most students have to take a 1 or 2 hours bus ride, and then walk 3-5 more hours to get home. As the result, the middle schools in NuJiang region have a different schedule in setting up their school days versus off days. Some schools have instruction for 10 continuous days before giving the students 2-3 days off, some schools have no instruction on the 18th and 28th of each month, and other schools have classes for an entire month, then give 5-6 days off. Because of the unpredictable schedule and the difficulty in visiting students’ homes, we made extraordinary effort to meet with as many children as possible in their schools, to better understand their current conditions.
To reach some of the more accessible homes is still challenging. Our bus driver was very careful and skillful, yet he often had to stop and reverse before he can make the turn to continue slowly through the zigzagging mountain roads. After the bus ride, the last mile is usually a 40-60 degree incline hill, where we had to hold on to each other in addition to balancing with our hiking poles. There was one hillside in particular where most of us were actually on our hands and feet to get up and down. Many of our students came from minority ethnic groups like Nu people, Lisu people, Yi people, and Bai people. Most of parents we visited were quite shy and only spoke their own dialect, but their smiles and friendly gestures were reward enough for our volunteers. Although we could not comprehend each other’s spoken words, we communicated just fine when we gave the parents a thumb-up, or a pat on the shoulder for supporting their children.
From Liuku to GongShan County is around 150 miles, and it took us more than 10 hours to travel due to the narrow winding roads and the poor road condition. We encountered numerous roadblocks because the maintenance workers were clearing the debris from mudslides and falling rocks. We really count our blessings for a non-eventful seven days journey. The travel may have been challenging but the scenery was spectacular. We also witnessed the locals using a unique transportation method called “Liusuo” (zipline), where people attach themselves to a cable connected to two mountains at an angle, across the NuJiang (“Angry River”). As we marveled at the amazing beauty of the land, we also feel for the harsh living condition of the people, which made us respect the strength and positive attitudes of the locals even more. The PEACH students’ homes are mostly dirt poor, their houses often in shabby conditions. They have handicapped elderly, parent with an illness, or some households with a single parent. However, many of these families are supporting one or more children to high schools, and even colleges. Considering that, we could not help but ask ourselves, “Would I be able to do any better if I were in their position?”
As we found our way through the sugar cane fields, we came to the home of two female PEACH students, one in 12th grade and one in 10th grade. Their 47-year-old father was skinny with dark complexion and white hair. He showed us a letter his younger daughter wrote, because she was hoping we would visit, but was afraid her father couldn’t communicate with us. She wrote, “I didn’t think there would be anyone who would care for us after my mother passed away, until the aunties and uncles of PEACH Foundation came to our lives. We are very happy! My father is in poor health, I am very sad about it, and I thought about dropping out of school before. However, I no longer think of dropping out now that I have your support. Our neighbors often make comments like, ‘don’t waste money to send your daughters to school,’ but my father never listens to them. He just tells us to study hard. I will never give up because I know the reward will be good. I want to prove myself – I can do it!” We were all so touched, but no one spoke. The only sound around us was the rustling of the sugarcane leaves. What a wonderful young girl and her great father.
In Laowo Middle School, Mr. & Mrs. Chen chatted with a petite 7th grader. Her father was mentally ill and her mother alone supported the family. Unfortunately, her mother was paralyzed earlier this year. Now, the only income for the family is RMB100 (approximately US$17) per month from the government. Her teacher told us, “Her mother already wrote her will and ask to contact the child’s uncle when she dies, because her father is not able to take care of her.” Mrs. Chen was heartbroken when she heard the story and was so touched by this incredible mother. Mr. & Mrs. Chen decided to provide two times the normal sponsorship to this little girl, to encourage her and to let her know that there is hope!
2014 Volunteer Gathering is scheduled on Sunday 12/7/2014 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, at Crowne Plaza Foster City, California. We would like to share our accomplishments from this past year and share our future plans with you. Please join us and invite your friends. Thank you.
2015 Summer Camp schedule is below. Thanks for the overwhelming support. Our summer camp volunteer teachers’ positions are completed filled; however, we are still accepting applicants for the waiting list.
First Session 7/13/2015-7/23/2015 YuanYang High School, HongHe County
Second Session 7/24/2015-8/1/2015 YuLong High School, LiJiang County
2015 Volunteer Understanding Tour is scheduled from10/25/2015 to 10/31/2015. We will be visiting Li-Jiang County, Yunnan Province.
Finally, in 2015, we will be adding 900 new students and nearly half of them are orphans or girls coming from single-parent families. Please consider sponsor some of these PEACH students as you plan your end-of-year tax deductions. Thank you.
Attached are two students’ biographies. Please share them with your family and friends.
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 Winter & 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 Junhui writing funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate to the foundation administration funds
I would like to donate to the mini-loan for middle and high school students’ 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$300 for a high school student, US$150 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.
1098 Marlin Avenue, Foster City, CA 94404, U.S.A.
Phone：650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688
12206 Wang XX, Boy, 9th Grade
Translated by Chialun Chang
The remote village I grew up in was poor and in the back country. We did not (and still don’t) have a school. I had to go to another village to attend school.
Father died when I was two months old. I have no memory of him. I tried to picture him from a few old photos and what people told me. When I was ten months old Mother remarried and moved away. It wasn’t until I was ten years old that I learned who she was.
Grandpa had a stroke when I was seven years old. For two years he could not feed himself at meal time. Even now he can not walk and needs our help. Because Grandpa is too ill to work, Grandma has to shoulder up everything. She is old now, past eighty already. She can’t deal with everything as before, but we all depend on her. The government helps a little, and some charity, too. So we get by, if just barely.
Sister is a freshman in college now. She is a good student. She is lucky enough to have someone sponsoring her education. We can’t afford the expenses. I myself am also lucky to have a little financial help, otherwise I would have had to drop out a long time ago. I don’t want to give up school. I will try my best to stay in school.
While in first grade I became seriously ill. I was delirious all night. My family all thought I would not make it, but I pulled through in the end. Heaven took pity on me, I suppose. Ever since then I know how precious life is, and how precarious it is. I am glad to have dodged a bullet that time, but it only means there are more obstacles waiting for me.
I never experience the love of a mother, and I don’t know my father. I visit Father’s grave on the Tomb-sweeping Day every year, but all I can do is to call out “Pa!” to a cold tombstone. This is not the life I want. How I wish for someone else’s life, to come home and rush to my parents, to allow myself be spoiled by them. Instead, all I have is a few old photos, and my tears.
I used to feel ashamed about my past. People always pointed their fingers at me and said all kinds of things. Whenever I messed up, grownups would scold me and call me names. I was someone without a father and a mother. They did not care about my feelings. Their words stung, and I would hear those words again and again. I would wish I have parents like a normal kid.
Nowadays I am no longer ashamed. I realize that shame is not productive; it has no use when I must face the cruel realities of life. I shall be brave and face what I need to face. I shall not only work hard but work even harder. One day I will have something to show those who used to ridicule me. For those people who expect something better from me, I shall not let them down!
13792 Yang XX, Girl, 7th Grade
Translated by Emily Yu
My parents left me with my grandparents when I was very young. It stroke me like the sky collapsed right on top of me and broke my heart. Similar with all other children grew up in deprived mountain lives; I always have had a dream to walk out of the mountains one day, to pursue opportunities in the outside world.
My grandparents are in their 60s and are with poor health. I knew that they have limited ability or resources to support my tuition. Nonetheless, I will try everything possible to continue study.
It took me 4 hours just to walk from my grand parents’ cottage to school. In winter days, my fingers were almost frozen like ice cubes. It doesn’t matter how difficult or severe the challenges are ahead of me, I shall never yield to my destiny and I will never give up my determination to pursue a better life for my grand parents and myself.