Family is Tight-Knit, Hard-Working
20-year-old Xiaowen lives with his parents and older sister. Although the family is impoverished, they are very close and the parents are very loving. Xiaowen’s parents would rather live hard lives themselves than to subject their children to worse living conditions. The parents try to save as much money as they can to support the tuition and living costs of their two children, which is the biggest family expense.
Farming Isn’t Enough
The family’s livelihood comes from about an acre of land. Each year they plant some common crops such as wheat and corn. The land itself is not enough to feed the family.
So each year during the non-farming season, the father and mother find work elsewhere. The father usually finds a place close to home and does miscellaneous work, so he can both take care of the land and make a little extra money, around 3,000 yuan per year. The mother goes to Xinjiang after harvest season to pick cotton. She earned 6,000 yuan last year, but this source of income is unreliable and changes each year according to the working conditions. Last year, the family rented some land and earned 5,000 yuan from planting medicinal plants. These two sources of income helped the parents feel a little better because they could pay back a part of their debt during the Lunar New Year.
Still in Debt
The parents are always trying to think of new ways to increase the family income. They need to pay the children’s tuition and living costs, as well as pay back old debts. The interest from these debts piles up year after year, and it alone is not a small sum to pay. The family’s total calculated income per year is only 14,000 yuan, an average of 38 yuan per day. Xiaowen needs to pay 20 yuan every day at school for lunch alone, not to mention Xiaowen’s sister’s daily living costs.
Mother’s Disease Needs Treatment
The mother has suffered from a gynecology disease for many years, but she never had the extra money or courage to go to a hospital for a complete checkup and treatment. She just takes some over-the-counter antibiotics. Hard work day after day and her illness prevent her from doing demanding physical work.
Xiaowen’s Hopeful Future
Xiaowen’s parents are happiest about his healthy body. After his surgery, Xiaowen became a lot healthier and eats a lot more. More importantly, he radiates self-confidence. In this period of his life, the change in his outlook is the most important. Now Xiaowen is preparing for the college entrance exam. His parents are both nervous and excited at the same time, but they worry about the college. If this year Xiaowen can get into a good college, can they pull together the necessary tuition? They hope that their child can luckily get into a good university, but also worry about the cost.
Having a child attend college can offer hope for a family struggling with poverty. Yet the financial burden of tuition is more than they can afford. Xiaowen’s honest parents do not know how to make money aside from hiring out their labor. They work hard day after day on the arid land and hope for good weather, but each year their income is too small to cover their expenses.
Show your love and care to Xiaowen’s family, so his mother can be healthier and Xiaowen himself can get a good college education.
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