17206 Zhang XX, 10th Grade, Female

Translated by Sara Qiu

I was born in a poor village in the mountain. My parents always had to leave their native place, they hide everywhere to give birth (to more children than allowed) to a big team. It’s only because there wasn’t a son so they kept giving birth, to the extent of giving birth to five daughters, she could only escape. I heard that no long after giving birth to me, my mum went to other places to hide, and she even slept on a pile of rice straw. At that time, I was very small but very well-behaved; I didn’t give trouble to my parents.

In primary school, I walked one kilometer every day. Whenever it rained, I slipped several times on the muddy road. Even if my bottom hurt, my clothes got dirty and the cold was shivering, I persevered. I especially hoped to have my own pair of rain boots. I envied every time I saw the other children wearing them. Later, I was eager to have an umbrella. Without umbrella, I got soaked through every time it rained.

I love to study and to work. On the evening when I came back from school, I used my small shoulders to help my parents pick water. After picking the water my back got purple, I helped them do housework, and then went to school exhausted. On the weekends, I went to the mountain with some friends to cut firewood, pick pig grass, wash parents’ clothes… although the days were terrible, I was very happy.

On the holiday of the next semester of 6th grade, my father was swept away by a roaring torrent. That was a big strike; they took my happiness and father’s love away. There wasn’t any pillar anymore, leaving our poor family even worse than it was. Mum always hold my father picture, and lived every day with tears. Our whole family didn’t dare to believe this fact, we all immersed in grief.

I was worried about whether mum could bear the heavy burden. There were 3 children having an education, and my mum was the only one who did everything, she picked all of them, she could not abandon anyone of them. I was determined by heart: I had to study well, improve my family situation, let mum live at ease. But I couldn’t pass high school, I left everybody disappointed. I was particularly desperate; my wishes came to nothing, still so far from my dreams.

I got hemorrhoids, and when doing surgery, they also found out I had tuberculosis. Why Heaven is so unfair to the poor? Why did they let a serious illness annoy me? I got one illness after another, and wasted so much money from my mother, adding that I wasn’t proud of my exams, I could not face myself. How could I dare to study high school?

Mum also told me to not study anymore. There were 3 children at home going already to school. The financial burden at home was strong, I had to go work and earn money, plus, having the disease, what if I couldn’t keep up with the other students? I calmed myself and I thought: no matter how desperate, how frustrated, I cannot give up on studying. Because I continued studying, my family may still have a chance, a little chance of change, even if I have to suffer, to scrimp and save, I still have to keep studying. At the end, I convinced my mother.


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