Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Year-end Dinner at Jubilee Gansu

It was almost the end of the year. The students had finished their examinations, and would be going home to their guardians for the Chinese New Year holidays. We had also finished installing the computers and the network, and completed the training for the students and the teachers. A perfect time for a year-end dinner for everyone.

Their normal meals contain very little meat. But for once, at the year-end dinner, there were sausages and chicken legs. And French Fries! Potatoes is the main crop here. So they eat a lot of potatoes anyway. But it takes a lot of oil to make French Fries, hence it is rare treat.

I learned from one of the older girls, who was attending primary six in another local primary school, that she was from a village in the mountains about three hours away by bus. Her relative were farmers, like most people around there. Each year her relatives would raise a pig, and slaughter it for Chinese New Year. Then they would be eating the pork for the rest of the winter.

Each of the kids has a story that breaks your heart. Two brothers were originally from Henan. The older one said he was 16 but did not know for sure. His parents were dead and his grandfather could not tell him exactly when he was born, not even the exact year. Both of them had some kind of skin problem which gave them extremely low self-esteem.

Another girl was from some place in Gansu. Her guardian is her grandfather, because her father passed away and her mother re-married. She lived in a cave and used to run wildly in the mountains until she was accepted by the orphanage.

Many of the kids do have relatives but they simply cannot take care of them. One of the girls was picked up by a man when she was a baby. They shared the only bed in the house.

Can you imagine the odds that they face in life?

If we can help to give them a better start in life, shouldn’t we do it? Even if it means a bit of hardship and sacrifice?

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