Little Red Scarf is in Lanzhou, Gansu province and provides financial support and encouragement to children suffering from congenital heart disease. In addition, they provide families with post-operative care and help the children sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Many thanks to TL’s 2015 donation of $800 (5000 yuan), which helped fund Rui Rui’s 2016 medical expenses.
We gave Rui Rui and her older brother the donation when he came to Lanzhou in February 2015 for a doctor’s appointment.
In 2016, after receiving the donation for Rui Rui, we got in touch with her, asking how to best deliver the money. Rui Rui’s father's advice was to give it to Rui Rui around the New Year when she would go to Lanzhou for a check-up, as it wouldn’t be convenient for them to travel into town.
We are looking forward to seeing Rui Rui next month, because a year has passed since we last saw her.
In May 2016, when Rui Rui’s older brother and sister-in-law went to Xinjiang to look for jobs, it occurred to them that having Rui Rui stay at home all day away from school might cause her anxiety, so with their parents' permission, he brought her with him to Xinjiang. This was Rui Rui’s first time travelling a considerable distance away from home, and she was brimming with expectations. Her brother said that as she sat on the train watching the world go by, he could see the love she has for life.
Her brother has lived in the rented Urumqi room for a week, and Rui Rui has begun to worry, telling her brother she is anxious to find a job. Rui Rui’s brother took into account his sister’s physical limitations and found her a job waiting tables near their rented place in a small hot pot restaurant.
The first month consists of the training and the internship, and wages are lower; during the second month you transition to independent work, and wages can rise to 2000 yuan or more.
Rui Rui was excited about the 2000 yuan, but after finishing the first month, Rui Rui was laid off because her body could not handle the work, and she got 1,300 yuan of severance pay.
As Rui Rui talked with us on the phone, she was full of self-reproach, saying, “I do not earn a penny, because all the money I do earn is spent on train fares (referring to her trips between home and Xinjiang)."
We could not help but comfort Rui Rui on the phone: You’re very good already, you’re already earning your own travel money, what an independent girl.
This year, affected by a dry climate, Rui Rui's family's harvest is very poor. Two acres of potatoes only yielded 500 pounds of crops; two acres of wheat yielded 400 pounds, and two acres of corn have not yet been threshed. Rui Rui’s father said that this year’s yield was much smaller than in previous years, and the money isn’t enough to cover the cost of the fertilizer. Rui Rui’s father hurriedly said, “Our crops may be bad, but there are many who are much worse off than us.”
Rui Rui’s parents both suffer from poor health. Her father has had rheumatoid arthritis for 4-5 years, and her mother's eyes are glassy and cloudy, which not only affects her vision but also usually causes her pain. When her mother was young, she overworked herself, which led to left lumbar disc problems. Now the trivial task of carrying a bucket of water is not possible. The family’s chores are performed entirely by Rui Rui’s father and brother.
Every year after spring, once the older brother has finished helping his father work their land, he finds work elsewhere. Land is the foundation of a farmer’s livelihood, so even when they look for other work, they cannot afford to neglect their own land.
Now Rui Rui still takes oral sildenafil tablets—one-eighth of a pill once a week. If she doesn’t eat the right amount, Rui Rui feels immense stomach pain. She takes captopril three times a day, and a bottle of the medication can last for two months. She also takes aspirin enteric-coated tablet once a day, and a box of this can last a month.
Rui Rui’s brother has always been responsible for taking his little sister to her doctor appointments and retrieving the medicine. Her father has never traveled far from home and does not dare to take Rui Rui to her appointments for fear of getting lost and delaying her examination.
Now Rui Rui’s older brother, who is in Xinjiang, is having trouble finding work and plans to return home. Upon returning he will take Rui Rui to get a checkup and buy her some medicine.
Thank you to Rui Rui’s family for being there for her through thick and thin; for not only giving her a warm home but also for teaching her what love is. Bless Rui Rui’s hard-working, caring family. We hope that their lives will continue to improve, and that each year’s crop can surpass the last’s.
Original article written by Yunyun Jie, translated by Emma Cockerell , edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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