171051 Ma XX, 8th Grade, Male

Translated by Neil Sun

A happy family was completely gone when I was nine years old.   A car accident took the life of my father.  Soon after, my mother remarried.  Since then, my younger brother and I lived with our grandparents.

The whole family went to work the entire day and can only start cooking dinner upon returning at nightfall.   Grandpa earned little money from repairing houses to pay for my brother’s and my education.  Grandma saved every penny and would not even buy a box of matches.  Every week, my grandparents gave five cents to my brother and me each, and sometimes not at all when the money is tight.

The village had no electricity back then.  I still remember at the age of five, we went to town one night and I was amazed when I first saw the shining light bulbs.  There was a period of time I was barefooted.  On one occasion when I let the cattle out for grazing my shoes were completely torn.  As a result, I had to go without wearing shoes.  In the beginning it was uncomfortable and gradually I learned to be barefooted.

My brother and I got up early to pick walnuts, dug potatoes and carried harvested corns, so that we could earn about RMB500 yuan each year.

Two years after my father’s death, grandma became seriously ill.  We were unable to make enough money to pay her medical expenses, and before long, my grandmother died.

I think studying is a bitter sweet thing.  But no matter how hard the studying is, it is no harder than those laboring works at home.  I feel more tired each time returning to school from home because there are so many things to do at home and the tasks are endless.

So I must study and provide a better future to the family.


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