17965 An XX, 8th Grade, Female

Translated by Corey Cheung

My name is An XX from Shangjiangzhen. I am in 8th grade. I remembered when I was 6 year old, my brother 4 years old, and my sister 2 years old, for reasons unknown, my parents divorced. My mom picked up her belongings and left. To this day, I can still clearly remembered her silhouette as she was leaving. Tears were streaming down my eyes. My brother seemed dazed and just looked ahead blankly. My sister wanted to leave with mom. But no matter how hard she cried, mom ignored her. No matter how much dad begged her to stay, she did not listen. She left without turning back. She did not even shed a tear. I realized I am now slowly forgetting what she looks like.

We live with grandpa and grandma who are in their 80s. Our only support is from dad. At the time, we didn't know how to do anything. I only knew how to cook, sweep the floor, and feed the pigs. Now my brother is in 4th grade, my sister in 3rd grade, and I am in 8th grade. Dad not only has to support grandpa and grandma, but he also has to support us. Last semester was the most difficult for dad. It was also the most frightening for me. I was so worried about dad having to support all of us and the unrelenting pressure upon him.

When I was in elementary school, I was always looked down on by my classmates. The wall of my house are made of mud. But most importantly, is that I don't have a mom. Did you know all my classmates have moms? I was always so envious when I saw my classmates talking and laughing with their moms and when I saw their moms picking them up at school. I want to have a mom. I want to call out to my mom, but that is not possible.

In my heart, my dad is my protection tree. He's the best dad ever. He never remarried because he was afraid a stepmom wouldn't be nice to us and grandpa and grandma.

I now know why mom left us. She didn't want to suffer any more. We are farmers who lived in a mud house and own very little land. She couldn't stand the harsh life and poverty.

But I have decided not to give up. Dad supports all 5 of us. Although life is hard, I don't want to give up. Dad also wouldn't let me to give up. He is committed to my education. He told me not to be illiterate like him. Dad never went to school because my grandparents didn't have money to send him to school. He doesn't want us to be uneducated. He told us if we are persistent and work hard, we will achieve our dreams. My teacher also told me to be a good role model for my brother and sister.

To tell you the truth, at times, I had thought about quitting school. Although I love going to school, my brother and sister also deserve an education. If I don't quit, when I get to high school or college, dad will not have enough money to pay for all our tuitions. I really don't want my brother and sister to quit school because of me. It makes me very sad. And I don't want my dad to have a huge debt. Dad said we can borrow money if we don't have enough. But when will the borrowing end?

I figured if I quit school and find a job, I will be able to support my brother and sister to go to school. But my teacher told me, no one will hire me because I am not old enough to work and don't have enough education. Since I am only 14 and not very strong, I would be of little help with farm work at home. My only option is to continue my education and work hard. Then, I can repay my dad. And I need to set a good example for my brother and sister. So, I must not give up. If I give up, that will be the end for my brother and sister. My family will continue to be poor. I must study hard, and work hard to achieve my dreams. I believe I will succeed.


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