Almost Giving Up
Jia Jia had heart surgery with the support of LRS in January 2015. Before then, her family had a difficult time seeking treatment for her. When her parents were told they had to prepare 190,000 RMB ($28,700 USD) for the operation, they were about to give up and leave the hospital the next day. Her father could not help but cry on the street corner. When they were doing paper work to leave the hospital, her mother saw San San, a staff in Zhongjia who had gone to the village to screen children for heart disease. The same day, San San called LRS.
Jia Jia brought me a cup of water when I first saw her. When her mother was telling me their difficult situation, she was sad and tried hard to keep back tears. She put an apple in my bag quietly. I often thought of her black eyes.
Her mother said the family of 5 has just 3 mu (1/2 an acre) of fields to live on. They grow some corn, which brings about 4,000-5,000 RMB ($600-$750 USD) of income per year. She has 3 children. Two of them are in primary school and 1 is in kindergarten. The mother has to do some temp work in the village to earn a little more. The village doctor even treated her on credit. Her grandfather sold the buffalo to raise money.
Villagers told their children to stay away from Jia Jia. They were afraid of being infected. When I suggested we apply to cover some of their travel costs, she said they had appreciated the support for the treatment and they did not want to ask more.
Jia Jia’s father is the pillar of the family. Her mother only knows some words, so her father has to do all the paperwork. Her father always came earlier to save our time whenever we wanted to talk with him.
Surgery for Jia Jia
Jia Jia finally had surgery on January 7, 2015. She left the hospital on January 15. She smiled brightly, and her mother smiled, too. Her father seemed relaxed when seeing Jia Jia.
An Unforgettable Family
Jia Jia had a complicated form of heart disease, so subsidies weren't enough to cover 70% of the hospital fees. Finally, we came up with a solution. Her father paid a part in cash and the rest of it would be paid by LRS. When they got reimbursed from the village insurance, they would return the extra money to the foundation. As a matter of fact, I did not expect them to return the money, for my co-worker had told me that no one had ever returned money before.
However, a few days later, Jia Jia’s father returned with more than 5,000 RMB ($750 USD). He is the first one to return money after being reimbursed. Her father said, “This is what I should do. The money did not belong to us.” At that time, his son also was in an accident and had a fracture.
Poverty, illness and difficulties can easily break people’s moral baseline. We had to give them understanding most of the time. This family was unforgettable for me.
Follow Up Care
On April 12, 2016, I called the family. Jia Jia's father was working in the field. He told me the harvest was good last year. They had 12,000 RMB ($1,800 USD) of income, but they were not able to pay back the 40,000 RMB ($6,000 USD) of debt. Jia Jia was getting better but she was still weak and needed to take medicine. Her father did field work and her mother went out to work so the 3 children could not be well cared for.
We hope Jia Jia's family will have a good return for their kindness.
Original article written by Qian Hua, translated by Maggie Li, edited by Carolyn D.
TFISH FUND BLOG
We update news and reports directly from the field written by our NGO partners daily.
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
IN THE NEWS