Ms. Zhou writes about her encounter with YingZi, a local directer of a women's organization in the SiChuan Province. Ms. Zhou focuses on psychological counseling for rural women - find out more about her counseling center here!
YingZi is the director of a women’s organization located in a village in Pengan County, Nanchong City, SiChuan Province. Ever since I came to Nanchong, she has always been talking with me and getting to know me better. I really like and admire this peasant girl.
YingZi is 38 years old, and has worked many hard years outside of her home village. She was also self-educated and earned an associate degree, and later established her own career.
She told me about her village, family, past, and ideals. She has six brothers, each with his own dream, and each one is the author of their own life story of epic ups and downs. However, YingZi felt responsible for all of the unfortunate things that happened at home. She talked about the subtle relationships at her husband's family, her husband’s poor childhood, and the pitiful, wandering days of his young adult years.
She also talked about the people back home, and how most of them have been unable to escape constant suffering. After they earn money from places outside of their hometown, many of the men live drunken, gluttonous, gambling lives without caring about their wives and kids. The wives and children are left with nothing and are forced to give up all hope. The village women often quarrel and gossip with one another, and when unpleasant events happen, they can furiously curse at each other for three days and nights.
YingZi saw how much her people were suffering and wanted to help them, but she did not know what to do. This is where I tried to help, through listening and encouraging.
During one of the sessions we had together, YingZi told me, “Over the years I have been asking myself what I could do. Teacher Zhou, you have helped me find the answer. I'm going to do what you do to help the people in my community live happily and purposefully. I want to teach them to read, and I want to guide them to properly educate their children. I hope the men will learn the responsibility they have in the family, to be loving to their wife and kids. I also hope that the sisters will not give up on themselves and waste their precious lives!"
The things that Yingzi said deeply moved me and made me search for hope. Wasn't my intent in coming to a rural area to interact with people like her? There is a saying that the best salvation is self-help, and I believe that Yingzi has that ability!
"The years I spent doing hard work was not to make money, not to escape, but to achieve a childhood dream. I like to help those who were widowed at a very young age; and regardless of what others think, I will serve them. One day, when I have enough money, I’ll build a nursing home in the village, so that the older people of our village can also enjoy their end stage of life like those who live in the city."
She and I would talk for hours. I helped her analyze her familial confusion and her marriage struggles, and provided her with some suggestions. I also shared that the next time I came to Sichuan, I would certainly make time to visit her village and help her make plans for educational activities in the village. When I was leaving, she said to me, with tears streaming from her eyes, “Teacher Zhou, from now on, I am born again.” I feel for Yingzi and wish I could give her more support. She is the hope of her village.
Original article was written by Ms. Zhou, translated by ShiShi Ma, and edited by US Intern Kevin Mo.
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