Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Roasted-Yam Seller

I have heard many many stories during this trip to the North-West that I cannot remember them all. I discover that even the yam seller has one to tell, if only we would stop to listen. This man and his wife are both yam sellers from central China; actually Henan, I believe. Henan is one of those provinces well known for exporting migrant workers to other places because there is insufficient work available for so many people (the population of Henan is close to 100 million).

They have a little daughter whom they have to take with them while they are selling yam because there is no one else to take care of her. Since they are not locals they cannot send their daughter to the local schools. Today their daughter is not feeling well so the wife stays home. When the wife is not pushing a cart selling yam they have even less income but they have no other option.

My friend is so eager to help them he buys yam from them every time he passes by, even right before dinner. His wife, even though she is just as caring as he is, eventually complains that they cannot possibly eat so much yam ... Staring at the uneaten yam at home, we laugh; but there are hidden tears as well. We all want to help, but how much can we do?

The slogan on the wall is so to-the-point. Even then, it points to the symptom, but not the root cause of the many problems.

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