Henan Volunteers: Smile with Tears
According to their motto “Love, truth, and service to the community,” Henan Volunteers works to enhance people’s sense of social responsibility by providing them various volunteer opportunities. The office is in Xingyang, Henan province.
Celebrating a 10-Year-Old's Birthday
The weather was beautiful with bright sunshine, bringing a positive vibe to many people. Under the rays of sunshine, our volunteers finally arrived at Guangwu Zhaiyu village to help ten-year-old Chengfeng celebrate her birthday. Due to unfamiliar roads, we arrived thirty minutes later than the scheduled time. The child’s mother was at the entrance of the village waiting for us. Not wanting Chengfeng to wait any longer, we went to her house as soon as we got out of the car.
When Chengfeng saw us, a huge smile spread across her face as we brought the cake to her. After we sliced the cake, this sweet child gave the first slice to her father, who has been bedridden for two years now due to a car accident. Seeing the child feeding her smiling father, we were all touched by the scene.
A common saying in China is that “children who live in poverty grow up faster.” However, from this scene, we saw that it is actually the children that undergo hardships who become wiser. Chengfeng's mother proudly told us that a few days ago, Chengfeng placed first on an exam in class and got an award. We were all very happy for her.
Bedridden, Depressed Father
After finishing the cake, we talked with Chengfeng’s father. He told us that he had once gone through a period of depression, even going so far as thinking to end his own life. Seeing his current state, how the man who used to be the main provider of the house was unable to even get out of his bed, we understood his feelings. We all encouraged him to continue on with his life for the sake of his children and family. He nodded his head as he continued to listen to us.
In order to alleviate the loneliness he experiences throughout the day, our volunteers gave him a music player. We gave the youngest daughter a bag of candy, and she immediately ate four pieces of candy from it. As we watched her eat, we grew very sad, as we could see that this family usually eats very little. Ever since the father was in an accident, the mother has been taking care of him. The main source of income is a few hundred dollars in January from a subsistence allowance. Daily life has become really hard and is especially unfair to the children.
Teacher Zhenxi asked Chengfeng about her education status and told her that if there were any problems, they could talk at any time. In addition, she left behind her contact information, telling the child to contact her as often as she wants.
Smiles, Teardrops, and Hugs
Chengfeng was always smiling a warm contagious smile that spread across her face. Her mother’s smiling face also shocked us. How could a woman who has been through so much still have the bravery to smile and be so strong? We told her that she must continue to be strong to hold up this family, as there is always hope for the future. Touched by our words--or worn out by all that she has gone through in the past two years--teardrops fell from her eyes. Teacher Zhenxi went up to hug her, a hug that made us all very emotional.
When we had to leave, the two children unwillingly bid us goodbye. Seeing Chengfeng's angelic smile that day, a tear dropped from my eyes. It was a teardrop full of hope and joy. We pray for a miracle that this father will one day have his pain eased and that the mother will be stronger for her children. Under this sky, we wish the children the best of luck in their studies so that they can quickly help strengthen this family!
Original article written by Ka Fei , translated by Nina Chen, edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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