Letter from Mr. Tang, a teacher in the Sichuan Province
From Mr. Tang, a teacher in Daliand Shang, Sichuan Province, which is nearby Lake Lugu, northeast of Lijiang County, Yunnan Province.
Dear Ms Jeng,
Greetings to you with your tender heart, your compassion to our countrymen, and your trust to our school! My colleagues and I have just started our second journey of visiting the households of the little known, right after student Shi Bing Long’s trip.
The places that I had visited have left me with profound impression. Every student, every parent, and every neighbor—they all expressed their heartfelt gratitude to you and your associates.
I recall in one occasion that a dropped out and lost student was dumbfounded to see us at the doorsteps. Staring at a guilt-ridden yet helpless face, I proclaimed to them that in a faraway place someone was willing to path the roads to his dreams, and to lessen the burden of feeling powerless—suddenly, the air seemed thickened.
After a long pause, the student said, “ Is it true?” I answered affirmatively. Another long pause, then the parent seemed to be mumbling that there were more good people in this world after all. Possibly dreaming of a suddenly brightened future, or just simply reverberated to my proclamation, the student asked, “Can it be possible?”
And the parent, possibly feeling ashamed of his incompetence, or simply imagining the faces of these unexpected philanthropists, remained silent. If not for the arrival of the inquiry next door neighbors, I had no clues how long this silence would last.
Through these visitations, the “PEACH movement” has spread to the entire county. Today, even when I am at school, people from afar will come to learn about the PEACH Foundation frequently. Although this year there are only forty PEACH students, but the impact and transformation exceeds the fate of forty. As an act of benevolence, you support a school district in a rural western hillside; as an educator, I feel profoundly grateful! Please be assured that my colleagues and I will see to it that the PEACH classes become the best, and the aspiring students’ dreams fulfilled.
In order to accomplish such meaningful task, we have seriously thought through it, and the following is a report in brief:
First, we would like to group the forty into a class; the goal is to form a unified “PEACH student body.” When the children learn to live in a unified environment, their sense of kindred spirit will be fortified. They will build up their allegiance and develop a sense of responsibility towards the PEACH beliefs and their teachers, as they advance in life. On the other hand, coming from destitute families, these children feel inferior and inadequate; psychologically, they are not very healthy. Allowing them to be together creates a mutually beneficial environment for learning, in which they do not feel different. And by giving them chances to work hard, they can experience positive outcomes, proofing that they too can achieve in life, thereby improving their confidence.
Furthermore, through visitations and our past experience, we learn that most of these children lack proper nurturing and affection from their parents, who spend their days earning their living. Most of these children look beyond their ages; in their formative years, childhood laughter become bitter struggles. Therefore, I am proposing to assign experienced and sympathetic teachers to this class. With our love and care, we hope to reclaim their lost laughter.
In short, my colleagues and I will build on the experience we gained from the previous recipients to further our cause, so these children will be healthy, happy, and eager to learn. Our conviction is that with your financial support and by our diligence, Daliand Shang will soon witness forty exceptional pillars, who would not forget your benevolence.
The western hillside has long been perceived as barren and impoverished, where schools are witnessing more dropouts. Being a schoolmaster in a school district of equal deficiency, my belief is that the poverty in education caused not only by the impoverished children, but a more serious one—the impoverished teachers. The poverty of the teachers is not in finance, but knowledge and intellect.
Ms Jeng, I read in your article your amazement to learn that the western hillside children have never ridden an elevator. I would like you to know that our children are not the only ignorant here; neither have some of our teachers ridden one to this day. The poverty of the children is being addressed by philanthropists the likes of you; however, how about the poverty of the teachers in knowledge? As long as the knowledge issue remained unresolved, even if we can send the children to school, can they learn much? Can they excel? Can they change their fate?
For this reason, I appeal to you while worrying about our children, please spend a moment for our teachers. You have already given our children opportunities to learn; I wish you would also consider the advancement of our teachers. My colleagues and I long to expend our knowledge horizon, so our poor children can be better served.
We have basically concluded forty applications, and we are in the process of visiting them individually. As for the CD-ROM, I am in the pre-production phase. You may not aware that producing CD-ROM is an extremely difficult task for me: primarily due to the lacking of equipment and facilities.
Lastly, please give my regards to Madame Chao.