17707 Bai XX, 9th Grade, Female

Translated by Sara Qiu

My father divorced when I was one year old. I have an older sister, but my mom took her away. However, mum didn’t bring me with her. We were very poor, and they couldn’t raise me, so my father brought me to my grandmother’s home. My grandmother was poor too and she didn’t have the strength to raise me, so she sent me back. Not long after, my dad returned me again to grandmother’s. I became an orphan child; my parents never came to visit me. When I was little, I didn’t even know who my parents were.

My mother came to see me once when I was a 5-year-old. At that moment I was at home and grandma dragged me out, she pointed at a stranger and said: “Look! She is your mother, she came to see you. Come on, call her mum!”. I was astonished, my lips moved a bit, but I couldn’t make a sound. She cried, and I cried: “mum...mum” I said. In the next day she had already left, I asked grandmother while crying: “where did mum go?” “she went to buy a few things, she will come back”. I just stood at the door and waited. But I waited for a day and she did not come back. I cried, she will not come back to see me again.

When I was 6 years old, my grandfather brought me to my mother’s home. I had an older and younger sister and an uncle now. I thought: if I lived there I would have a happy beginning. But I didn’t think at all it would be a nightmare again. My uncle had bad temperament. I did nothing, and he hit me all time. He made me do all kind of works. Therefore, at 6 years old I learned all kind of housework. When I was 10 I learned to cut wood, to dig. When the weather was cold, I didn’t have thick clothes neither warm shoes, I was barefoot. Whenever I had to go to school, I wore my mum’s slippers. I didn’t have a backpack. I had to carry my books. To avoid the books to be wet, I always carried a plastic film to carry them. The umbrella I took was broken every time it rained.

At 11 years old I returned to my grandmother’s home. Suddenly my dad wanted me home not long after. I didn’t like the mistreatment by my older uncles, so I thought: if I come back to my father’s house my life will be a bit better. Then, I went. My father married a stepmother. There were five kids at home including me. The house we were living in was built with broken stones, the area was very small. There was only room for two small beds and one big bed. The rain leaked in every time it rained. If it rained at night, we had no way to sleep. And we were 7 at home, there wasn’t enough space to sleep. My young brother and older sister had to squeeze, I went to sleep to my grandmother house. When we ate, my brothers and sisters stole each other the food because there wasn’t enough for everybody.

When I was in 6th grade, my stepmother thought of letting me drop school, because we were impoverished. In order to be able to study, every time we had vacation I went to work, to earn money and pay my school fees. Thought working with adults was hard and dirty, and the wage was low, I did continue in order to pursue studying.


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