Little Red Scarf is in Yunnan 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.
A cute and shy little boy from tribe of Yao. Jin Jun is 8 years old but looks mature for his age. This young boy from tribe of Yao of Yun Nan is still not able to speak Mandarine fluently. He speaks his own dialogues with his family.
He looks confident when he communicate with his family. However when I ask him questions using Chinese, I can sense the nervousness and uneasiness from him. His grandfather told me Jin Jun is not able to understand much Chinese, he can only speak some simple words so he is struggling at school. The school teachers are all speaking Chinese and he is not able to understand the language well enough so he is behind in his class which makes him feel less confident about himself. Because of language barrier, he did not want to go to school for a long time. The happy school life has become stress and nightmare for him.
The first time I saw Jin Jun was in an afternoon at the time when his grandfather and aunt brought him to Yun Nan hospital for medical examination. His parents were working at Xishuangbanna so they were not able to come back in time to go with Jin Jun. They arrived two days later. His grandfather told me only one of his parents would come for his operation for the purpose of saving money.
When I went to visit Jin Jun the second day, he was happily eating his congee dessert. When he saw me, he stood up immediately next to his bed. Unfortunately I was not able to take a picture of him. This is the only second time we met. He is still not comfortable with me because I speak Chinese to him all the time. However I can totally understand how he feels.
I was chatting with his grandfather. He told me Jin Jun's father was deaf in one ear. His hearing is poor. Jin Jun's mother is Vietnamese and cannot speak Chinese. His grandfather is in good health and likes to talk. We had a great time talking to each other. I can understand him well.
There are 6 people in Jinjun's family. His grandfather and grandmother live with Jinjun and his sister in their old home on the mountain in Jinping. The house was built with stones. The roof was made of steel and cement. Although rough outside, but the entire house structure is very strong. The whole family felt safe in the house and did not have to worry about leaking or other problems. The house was about 100 square meters and divided into three bedrooms. His grandfather said their village has about 300 households and is very close to Vietnam. There are lot of Vietnamese girls who are married into the village and there are also a lot of Chinese girls who go to Vietnam for marriage. Transnational marriage is very common here.
His grandfather was also proud to tell me that during zhongquez ziwei huanji zhan in 1979, he had joined the caravan team to deliver food and ammunition for the PLA. After listening to his story, I was in awe of him as I have always lived in a peaceful life.
He also said that he got bronchitis after joining the caravan team. He has been coughing constantly and was never cured. However he already got used to it. He also had a lot of pain around his waist about twenty years ago and later on he was also diagnosed with left kidney stone at the Wu-Jing hospital in Kaiyuan. Surgery was needed, but this option was given up as a result of lack of funding. He took some herbal medications whenever there was an attack and eventually he also got used to it as well.
Jin Jun's parents are working at the banana plantation at Xishuangbanna. Their annual total income does not only cover their own expenses but also able to send home around $10,000 RMB, and this is the main source of income for the family. His grandfather is 62 years old. He is not able to work because of poor health. He also needs to look after his wife and two grandchildren. They hire Vietnamese workers to help with their rice and corn fields, from sowing to weeding and harvesting. Every time 4-5 workers would be hired. If they need to stay for two days consecutively, then his grandfather would provide room and board at his own house. Their salary is $50 a day. The total cost was around $3000 a year. Jin Jun's school is in the village. Although the 9 year compulsory education was covered by the government, Jin Jun still has to pay $340 a year for miscellaneous fees. He is mischievous at his age and he loves to play with his friends. But every time when he plays with his friends they go running up the mountain, he usually gets left behind. Jin Jun would get sick every year for two years, he needed to go to the town hospital for treatment because the local clinic was not able to help him. Every time they need to spend around $1000 RMB. The family felt sorry for Jin Jun but was also worried about money. For a family with annual income of only $10,000, every expense needed to be carefully planned as the extra spending would directly affect the life of their family. Jin Jun was diagnosed with congestive heart failure when he was five years old. He did not receive any treatment because of family's financial difficulties.
In the morning of the 12th, Jin Jun has received surgery for ventricular septal defect occlusion. On the 13th, I went to visit Jin Jun at the hospital. His grandfather was with him. We thought his father had not come to visit, then we found out from grandfather his father went out to buy things for Jin Jun. Jin Jun was lying in bed sweating profusely. Although his blanket covers only half of his body, but the back of his head was as if he just took a shower. The weather was hot and the room was crowded with a thick blanket. If we didn't cover him we were are afraid of having him catch a cold, but it was like having a sauna with all these blankets. After some thoughts, we still decided to have him covered just to be safe. We feel sorry for Jin Jun to have to endure the discomfort.
Jin Jun was notified a discharge the second day. His father was hoping to wait for the result of Jin Jin's post operation examination results to decide whether he can go home. The hospital nurse explained to him that the hospital will contact them immediately if there are any problem with the results. If the hospital did not contact them it meant that everything was fine. Although his grandfather was not very happy with the way the hospital did things, they still agreed to the discharge for Jin Jun and went home. I could see that his grandfather was very alert. I then realized this the first time I visited them.
Jin Jun's father went out to buy new clothes for him. As a parent myself, I can totally understand his feeling. Although his son is weak, he has a healthy heart now which means he will have a healthy body in the future. This was an important day for his child. His face shone with happiness. Jin Jun's father put the new clothes on him, watching his son be transformed from inside out, he just kept smiling.
I felt very touched looking at Jin Jun who was surrounded by the love of his father and grandfather. For those children who do not have parents around, happiness for them is the time they spend with their family. After this short gathering, his father needed to return to work. Before he left, he showed his appreciation before he left. He was very grateful for the good hearted people who helped his son. In...his eyes, it is great comfort for him knowing someone is willing to help his child.
At last, I hope Jin Jun can recover as quickly as possible. He can run as fast as he wants and does not have to be left behind. I also wish Jin Jun's grandfather can try to use Mandarin to communicate with him to help his learning at school and enjoy the time with his classmates. Education is still the most important thing at his age as this would greatly impact his life in the future.
Original article written by Luo Ling, translated by Cindy and Shawn, and edited by Yanyan Zhang
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