PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
September, 2011, issue No. 29
Dear fellow PEACH members:
a good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I realized
how precious time is. And that I, in my remaining days, must forge ahead with all
my might to help more children. This summer, we have
expanded into two new county subjects in Yunnan: namely LuShui County in
NuJiang Prefecture and YongSheng County in LiJiang. In the past ten years, PEACH has been sponsoring 400 new students each year, but starting this year, it will sponsor 600 new students per year.
One might ask, ¡°Where would the scholarship donations come from?¡± Well, my dear friends, it is my belief that ¡°the determined will succeed.¡± When there¡¯s a will, there¡¯s a way. In the past ten years, it was your support that helped me to fulfill my dreams. I strongly believe that we will, just as we have in the past ten years, meet our demands without difficulty.
In July we went to visit two new county subjects, thinking that due to China¡¯s economic growth, their conditions would surely be better than the conditions of the sites we visited ten years ago. As we entered NuJiang, yet again, our spirits were dampened just as they were ten years ago.
NuJiang Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture for the Lisu ethnic group in northwestern YunNan. The raging river, NuJiang, runs southward throughout the region. Steep, magnificent canyon walls line the swift, turbulent river like two thick curtains which separate NuJiang from the outside world. To enter NuJiang, one must take the only asphalt road, which is so narrow that one must stop to allow the on-coming traffic to pass through first. There is absolutely no alternate road for automobiles which really suits the Chinese saying of ¡°be it one man guards the pass, still ten thousand are unable to get through.¡±
Mie bafang, Luobenzhuo Village, in northern LuShui County bordering FuGong County, was the first stop of our visit. Once we stepped out of the car, we took no more than ten strides and found ourselves climbing up a steep slope of an almost 60-degree inclination. Gasping for air, we climbed for an hour till we reached one of the kids' families. Over the years, having seen more than thousands PEACH students¡¯ homes and having witnessed all levels of destitutions, I thought I was immune. Yet Luobenzhuo Village¡¯s Mie bafang, just like its pointy bamboo strips that formed the walls, pierced through my heart. Mie bafang, as our heavy-accented guide had introduced to us during the ride, had me confused with the word ¡®bread¡¯ [mian bao] and so I was wondering what kind of room would be graced with such a delicious name.
Supported by a few slanting and askew studs on which different- sized boards were laid to form the floor and strips of bamboo were basket-woven to form the walls, the entire house was thus built in such a manner in a matter of hours. Under the floorboard, pigs were being raised. The stench from their droppings rose through the cracks of the floorboard, surging upward to what was their kitchen, i.e. bedroom, i.e. living room. Standing on top of the wobbly floor, we came to notice through the cracks that the pigs were staring at us, the strangers, with curiosity. In the far side of the smoke- and pig stench-filled room, we spotted the children¡¯s grandfather, bare-chested, bone-skinny, and stagnantly smoking a self-rolled dry cigarette¡
¡®Liu Suo¡¯--Rope bridge sliding En-route to our inspections, we often noticed farmers with cargo on their backs, standing by the river edges to prepare to cross the river by sliding across these hanging ropes. While there are a few concrete bridges scattered throughout the river, villagers may walk for a whole day and still won¡¯t make it across the river if they take the stone bridges route. So for those who don¡¯t live near a stone bridge, they would cross with ¡®Liu Suo,¡¯ hanging rope-bridge. It consists of two steel cable wires that each hang from a high platform on either side in order to promote a sliding action. Liu Suo is a quick crossing, often used to move people and cargo. According to our teacher guide, there were instances where children, carried on the backs of women sliding down the wires, fell in the river and were rushed away by the current.
The next day, we visited LaoWo Village, an hour-plus hill climb to a student¡¯s home. Along the way, however, vibrant flowers, lush green lawns, and misty clouds resembled a Shangri-La-like tranquility only punctuated by this little wooden house, simple yet tidy. The father passed away ten years ago, the mother does not understand Mandarin, and we didn¡¯t understand her Yi dialect, but we could read from her smile her warm enthusiasm. The student said in her home there were four children attending school; she and her eldest sister attended senior high; her younger sister and brother attended junior high. A second look at her mother revealed a thin, fragile, yet industrious woman, who smiled constantly. The tidy courtyard, the freshly laundered blankets hung on ropes, her diligence and endurance, all deeply moved us.
(Please view our photo gallery, ¡°Visit to China in 2011¡± at http://www.peachfoundationusa.org)
YongSheng County has a population of 300,000 and is located by Jinsha Jiang, but with its dry, hot climate, only small quantities of rice paddy fields are found. The roads are narrow and winding; a motorcycle couldn¡¯t avoid the cars in time and ran into the on-coming traffic¡ªman and motorcycle were thrown into the middle of the road. Later, as we were traveling down a curved road, a vehicle suddenly rushed out from behind, which caused us to gasp.
In Yongsheng County we visited seven poverty-stricken villages. One of the villages that we inspected was YangJia Village in the town of GuangHua. Our teacher guide brought us to the home of this student, whose father had passed away a long time ago and whose mother, unable to earn a living, married to a guy from the city of LiJiang. Because they did not register for marriage, she was driven off by the man¡¯s sons and daughters. She resorted to taking laborious jobs to send both her children to school, and when her own house collapsed, the three of them could only move into her brother¡¯s house. However, the brother, whose wife was deceased, had two sons attending college and was unable to help much. We instantly decided to accept both girls whose academic records were excellent, and the elder sister has since been admitted to the advanced class in YongSheng No.1 High School.
This trip to the two newly-added counties allowed us to accept 150 more children into PEACH, and the year 2012 new applicants would bring us to a record of 600 plus students. I would like to encourage everyone to please adopt more students and more often.
Recent PEACH activities:
(1) From July 11 to August 2, 2011, PEACH held two Summer Camp sessions for high school students in both YuanYang and LiJiang, with 65 volunteers and 700 plus PEACH students attending. It was by far the most attended Summer Camp in all aspects since the establishment of PEACH.
(2) From August 3 to August 10, 2011, PEACH held one Summer Camp session for elementary students in MaLizhai Elementary School in YuanYang, with 39 PEACH college-students as instructors and 255 students.
All the towns and villages in YuanYang County are lacking in infrastructure for transportation. As such, the levels of education are generally sub-standard. Some 300 elementary students in MaLizhai Elementary School are grouped into seven grade levels and are taught only by nine teachers, who conduct their lessons in the local Hani ethnic dialect. When our PEACH college students first arrived to teach, the children were paying attention as though they understood the language--or at least were trying to. With their noses running and eyes wide-open, the children stared at the new teachers with deep curiosity.
After a few days, the children learned to pick up discarded plastic bags and re-deposit them into the trash can. Even their little hands--dirty and blackened¡ªthey now knew to wash them before meals as well as to form a line to the cafeteria. Before that, they were rowdy and disorderly, but with our teachers¡¯ guidance, they learned to receive their meals in an orderly manner. And then there were some who quietly took out tissue paper to wipe their runny noses¡
Summer Camps for elementary students not only provide training for PEACH college-students who want to hone their public speaking skills and in the process learn the joy of giving, but also provide the children with joy and improvement.
Here are the 2012 Summer Camp schedules; applications are welcome till 1/31/2012.
1st Session: 7/9/¡ª7/20 at YuanYang, Yunnan,
2nd Session: 7/21¡ª7/30 at YuLong, Yunnan,
3rd Session: Elementary School camp, details to be announced.
Note: The Elementary School Summer Camp is not opened to public. Teacher positions are reserved for PEACH college-students only.
(3) From October 23 to 29, 2011, Volunteers' Understanding Tour will take place in YuLong, Yunnan.
(4) Entrance-exam results: as of July, 2011, 357 middle school students were admitted to high schools, 383 high school students were admitted to colleges, and 103 college students graduated successfully. These are such delightful accomplishments, thanks to all your unyielding supports.
(5) 2011 happens to be the tenth anniversary of PEACH since founding. Activities will be held on 12/4/2011 in Foster City to celebrate the adversities and rewards PEACH experienced in the past ten years. We would love for all of you to come and join us.
From 12 pm to 1 pm on that day, buffet lunches will be served, followed by a PowerPoint and video presentation of the footsteps of PEACH in a decade at 3:30pm. We welcome you and your relatives to attend.
Please reply by email, or fill out the following form and fax it to 650-525-9688, or mail it to: 1098 Marlin Avenue, Foster City, CA 94404; or just call 650-525-1188 to tell us how many of you are coming, so that our partner Mr. Solomon Tsai can prepare enough lunch. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Tsai for providing us the venue for gathering over the years.
Place: Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City, CA 94404.
Time: December 4th, 2011, 12:00pm to 3:30 pm.
(6) Enclosed please find a few autobiographies by our kids, a series of writing we call ¡°the depth of hearts of the Peach children."
I will be able to attend the event on 12/4/2011.
My name is ____________________, phone #_______________
I will bring _________ guests.
I would like to donate ______ to the medical funds (at an average of US$20 per child.)
I would like to send ______ children to attend the Summer Camp (at US$40 each for one week.)
I would like to donate ______ to the scarf and mitten funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to the thermal-pajama funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to the mosquito net funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate ______ to the library funds (at US$20 per library)
I would like to donate ______ to the foundation¡¯s administration funds
I would like to donate _____ to the mini-loans for middle and high school students¡¯ living expenses (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate ______ to the college loan funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate ______ (laptop computer/ digital camera/ cell phone)
I would like to increase my sponsorship to ___ high school students and ___ middle school students; the yearly costs are US$250 for a high school student, US$125 for a middle school student.
Please make the check payable to PEACH FOUNDATION.
Donors in Taiwan please convert the amount to New Taiwan Dollars, make sure it is payable to PEACH FOUNDATION, Account No.: 50011068, and make sure it is tax deductible.
1098 Marlin Avenue, Foster City, CA 94404, U.S.A.
Phone£º650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688
02003 Lee XX, 9th grade, Female
Without your support, I would have dropped out of school a long time ago. I was in the 7th grade when Grandpa passed away and Dad got sick soon after. My older sister was in the 9th grade, and she was about to attend high school. I knew that I would not be able to continue studying anymore, because we simply would not be able to afford to keep both of us in school. My parents didn¡¯t say anything about who needed to drop out, but I knew I had to make the decision. I knew it would be the right decision for my sister to stay in school because of her health. I was ready to leave school when the semester was over. It was then that PEACH Foundation came into my life and gave me hope. I learned that there were people who cared about me even though they never even knew me. And you are one of those people. I never met you, but I always think of you. I can still remember how happy I was when I received the first payment of the sponsored funds. There were no words to describe how deeply touched I was. And it was also the most joyful day for our family too, when Mom cuddled my sister and me, with tears streaming down her face and crying out, ¡°Both of you can stay in school now¡¡±
02028 Deng XX, 7th grade, Male
The village I live in is remote and primitive-- a high-altitude mountain village where roads do not exist, where villagers cannot reach the marketplace, where 80% of its children cannot go to school. Schools do not offer 5th and 6th grades. Playgrounds are not paved with blacktop but laid with pebble stones and dirt. Houses are simply piles of rocks and cement, topped by layers of hay. When it rains, the whole village turns into mud and water. In such economically-deprived living conditions, how could I dream of going to school next term?
02042 Hu XX, 9th grade, Male
This is a time of high-tech communication. Astronauts travel to space in spaceships, communicating effortlessly with people (almost) everywhere in the world through electro-magnetic waves. But it is a different picture in my home village¡ªyou can¡¯t even find a single paved road in town, many villagers have never used a telephone, never seen a TV, many don¡¯t even know what a telephone or television is.
02055 Li XX, 11th grade, Male
After my elementary school, I went to the Jiou High for my junior classes. Of all the setbacks I have had-- what bothered me the most was: the grave look on my mother's face each time she handed me a thick stack of small bills to pay for my tuition and being followed by the impatient head school teacher counting the small bills; and how both of my sisters had to discontinue their schooling because of financial pressure. Those two incidences had almost broken my spirit.
As a member of a poor farming family, I have tasted all sorts of bitterness and helplessness. I also feel much more inferior to the rich young men and their extravagances. Since I was young, I had this wish: I wanted to be a rich man one day or at least something better than a farmer. Such a notion grows stronger as years go by. I admire those who can assist others financially; not only are they self ¨Csufficient, they also have such a loving heart that they love those in need. I would not want my miseries relived by children of other farming families. Now I need to study even harder because in a year I want to pass the college entrance examination and fulfill my dream in college.