17139 Yang XX, 9th Grade, Female
Translated by George Wang
Both of my parents are handicaps. My father lost his arm during his junior high years. Looking for work in the city, he ran into gang members. They knocked him out with a stun gun and chopped his right arm off. My mom was born with a weak body and short stature.
Every day, from dawn to dusk, Mom works in the field picking tea leaves. Still, we could not meet our expenses. For the last two years, Mom had to ask the local government for tuition assistance. The village official scolded her, “Don’t come here and expect money from us.” The humiliation put tears in her eyes.
The first time I went to school, Mom went to our relatives for help with the tuition. It sends a chill to my heart whenever I think about those images - Mom’s tearful eyes and the disdain and cold shoulders from our relatives. It is through poverty that I realize that life is not always sunny and paved with flowers. It is through poverty that I understand how challenging life can be and how desperate my parents strive for us. It is through poverty that I experience first-hand the true meaning of money. As important as money is, there are values that transcend it - it is the resolution and perseverance of a determined person.
We live in a mud hut. Our relatives look down on us and are oblivious of our existence. My parents place their hope upon my sister and me, “You have to study hard and raise the whole family from this dump.”