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Home Our Missions Mission of Charity Hopen in the Karst Hills - A reunion

Hopen in the Karst Hills - A reunion

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Hopen in the Karst Hills
The few who have escaped
A reunion
Working so hard for so little
Help from the outside world
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A reunion
Pingyan, the name of the township, is actually quite sarcastic, or perhaps it expressed the resignation of the forebears who had given that name to this land. In Chinese, Pingyan (平岩) literally means "level rock." Yet the township is anything but. It is rocky all right, and also very hilly, yet the township’s landscape has done anything but put its residents on a level footing with their outside contemporaries.

Most of the people in the village have not fared nearly as well as Tang and his wife. Near the end of December 2006, Tzu Chi held winter relief distributions in several towns including Pingyan. About 13,630 people received winter kits containing rice, cooking oil, warm clothing, heavy blankets, and a first aid kit.

"Many of my [elementary school] classmates came to receive goods at the distribution. Many of us hadn’t seen one another in over a decade. We hugged each other because we were so very glad to see our old pals. It was almost like a class reunion." Tang said that most of his classmates had only finished elementary school and had left Pingyan to work elsewhere. Their limited education, however, had severely diminished their job choices. Most of them ended up making very little money as unskilled laborers, which they still are today, doing menial work with no hope of a breakthrough. In fact, they make so little money that they can’t even provide adequately for their own families, much less save for a better future.

"The lack of skills among many of the undereducated villagers has prevented them from landing good-paying jobs when they go to cities to work. Many of them become low-paid laborers," observed a county official. This no-skills-no-good-jobs relationship is not lost on the villagers. They do try hard to put their children through school. It’s just that very few of them have been successful. Huang Da-feng and Tang Rong-li are indeed among the lucky few success stories. Their efforts and circumstances have helped them escaped the vicious circle that has such a firm grip on many of their fellow villagers and continues to weigh them down. The ill effects of this vicious circle were clearly evidenced by the high number of Tang’s elementary school classmates, young men not yet 30, who needed to receive relief supplies at the winter distribution.


 

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