171142 Xu XX, 7th Grade, Female

Translated by Neil Sun

Since I was a child, I have lived with my father and my older brother in the rural area.  I have never seen my mother since I can remember.  My father did not tell me who my mother is, neither where she had gone nor if she is dead or alive.

My father's legs are disabled.  It is difficult for him to walk, let alone to work.  So my brother and I picked up all the housework.

Our old house was made of earth and decayed badly.  We have only a worn out sofas and several wood cabinets.  The government financed us to build a small new house.  The entrance leads to a storage place which separates the house into two bedrooms on each side of the house.  The larger bedroom is shared by my father and my older brother.  The roof leaks on raining days.  I live in the other bedroom which is very small and narrow.  It can only fit one single bed and nothing else.

Our primary food source comes from government relief and donations. We grow some vegetables to supplement our meals.  We basically have the same vegetarian dish every day. Only on special occasions, such as Chinese New Year, we will have a meat dish.

What I hate most is that people speak ill of my father.  I hate people who look down on my family and think of themselves as our boss. They bullied my families. My father said: “We must take good care of ourselves and face life courageously.”

My favorite thing is to be with my father and have a heart-to-heart chat.  However, last time when I came home from boarding school, he told me that he had fallen from the second story.  My heart hurt as if it was cut by a knife.  I cried and said to him: Please be careful in the future!”

There was one occasion when the government distributed clothes to my family, my brother and I brought home two bagful of clothing.  My father was happily angry because we only got clothes for him and there was nothing that my brother and I can fit.  My father said: “I don’t need so many clothes.  I am old and I don’t have much time left to wear these.  However, you are still young and growing.  You need clothes more than I do.”  We also received blankets from the government.   They are new so father insisted that we take them to our boarding schools while he uses the old quilt at home.

I am very happy that my brother and I can go to school.  But I worry that my father has no money and cannot continue to support our education.  So my brother and I decided to limit our weekly living cost to 15 yuan (~=2. 38 USD) .  From time to time, in order to save money, we would choose walking instead of taking the bus to travel between home and boarding school.

I will try my best to study hard.   I hope good people of the world can help my brother and me to complete our education. 


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