Xiao-qiang – Unbreakable Spirit

(Written in the first person from the child’s point of view)

My name is Xiao-qiang and I am 11 years old. I am in Primary 3 at the 12th Primary School in Luolong District, which is in the Lilou Village of the city of Luoyang. I live with the Li family. Although I can’t feel my legs and therefore cannot walk, my family still treats me well.  My teachers and classmates at school also treat me very well. With my new wheelchair I now can go to school everyday to learn new things.  I have many friends in school and I feel very fortunate.

I came to LYCWI (Luoyang Children Welfare Institute) when I was 2 years old.  My papa and mama gave me a small parcel and left me there.  At the time I thought they would come back for me very soon so I held on tightly to the parcel and would not let anyone touch it…but they never came back.

When I was 3 years old, I was arranged to live with the Guo’s family.  Everyone was nice to me and made me felt right at home.  They fed me with delicious food and gave me nice toys.  Mama was especially kind to me.  One day I made a promise to her that I’d give her plenty of money to spend however she wished when I grew up…mama got so happy and she cried.

Mama taught me how to sing and read. I enjoy learning and I love mathematics. The aunties and uncles from CEO knew that and whenever they came to visit me, they would bring me new learning materials.  So I look forward very much to seeing them every time!

I really wanted to go to school.  But because I couldn’t walk and I had to wear diapers, no school would accept me back then.  I was told that I already had three big surgeries to help fix me when I was little but none had worked.  But still, I asked the auntie who came to visit me from CEO, “Can I have another surgery to see if it’d help me stand and walk?”  She just looked at me all teary…

I later learned that if I were to go to school, I had to learn to change my own diapers without help.  So I practiced over and over again at home.  Finally when I turned 8, I got the opportunity to attend a private kindergarten, thanked to CEO and LYCWI.  I worked hard and tried my best to be courteous to everyone at school because I wanted to be a good student and to make those who gave the opportunity to me proud.

A year later from then, I was ready to go to primary school.  Unfortunately, there was no suitable school in my village.  Uncle Joseph told me that a school in another village had accepted me.  But in order for me to attend that school, I’d have to move to that village and live with a new family…that would mean I had to leave Mama Guo !  Uncle Joseph also told me that he would let me make my own choice and would support however I wish to do.  What should I do?

Finally, I told Mama Guo, “Mama, I don’t want to leave you, but I must go to school to keep learning so that I can make lots of money in the future to take care of you!”  Mama put her arms around me and started crying.

And so, I came to my current family, Mama Li’s home.  The whole family loves me just like my previous one.  I even have an elder brother with whom I play and we get along very well.  My new mama is very patient with me knowing my limitations.  Uncle Joseph bought me a wheelchair to help me move around at school.  He also got a motor-tricycle for my new mama so that she could easily take me to and fro my school.

Although I was a little scared at first and did not dare to speak to my classmates, I was very attentive to the teachers.  To help me catch up with the rest of the class, CEO gave me tuition before school started.  At home, I’d always finish my homework before I’d got out to play with friends.  Having a big brother had made a lot of difference in that I could always ask him things that I didn’t know or understand.  My big brother was always helpful to me.

In time, I befriended many of my classmates.  Now everyone treats me nicely and accepts me; they even help pushing me around in my wheelchair.  I’m going to be in Grade 4 soon.  In the last three years because many people helped me, I was happy that each year I received 3 distinctions in my report card.  So even though I can’t walk but I can lean to do many things well.  Like being a good student at school, being helpful around the house, putting away our rice bowls after dinner, keeping myself clean by washing my hands…I have no problem doing all these well.  I will definitely try my best in do everything.  One day, I will make everyone who has helped and supported me truly proud.