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Home Our Volunteers Stories The Eco Duo - The journey

The Eco Duo - The journey

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One morning, like most Monday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, Qu answered a phone call—it was Wu calling to let Qu know she was waiting for her downstairs. Qu then groped her way from the sofa out through her front door and took the elevator down to the first floor. A few moments later, when she emerged from the door of the apartment building, Wu began calling out directions, telling her how to proceed to her scooter: "Step forward… More… Stop! Back up a little… Now you can get on." When Qu had mounted the scooter, Wu started moving—and then began a more challenging part of their journey.

Advancing at less than 20 miles per hour, Wu kept the scooter near the edge of the road to stay out of the way of other motorists. Still, some of the drivers passing the duo honked their horns impatiently. The piercing din kept the two on edge most of the way. They were relieved when they finally reached the Tzu Chi recycling station on Nanping Road.

Wu gently directed Qu to get off before she pushed herself off the four-wheeled vehicle. It took the two of them a little while to dismount. Then Wu, leaning on her crutch, took Qu's arm for added support as they walked forward together. Under Wu's guidance, the pair inched forward until they came to their positions among small mountains of discarded items in the recycling station. It wasn't until they were settled comfortably in their seats that they were finally able to relax.

"You ought to write more about the two of them. They are truly admirable," said one of the volunteers nearby. Another volunteer added, "It's such a hassle for them to get around, but they still come here three times a week. Only those who are really devoted can do that." The volunteers at the recycling station are inspired by the duo's example.

Wu and Qu feel that they have received more than they have given through doing recycling. "The motions of what we do here are repetitive," they admitted. "But doing the same thing over and over again has the same effect as washing and scrubbing—it washes away our worries and helps us think with clarity."

To Qu, doing recycling has opened a new door on life. It has awakened her optimistic nature and has given her courage to try new things. For example, two years ago she met Chen Xiu-yu (陳秀玉), a well-known teacher of guzheng, a Chinese plucked zither. Chen has been giving Qu free music lessons, something Qu would not have dared try in the past. Qu's animated personality and willingness to share have also made her a welcome speaker; she is now often invited to share her journey out of her previous predicaments and to help lift people out of their mental traps.

Wu has found her life path as well. Though she needs to do some light assembly work at home to supplement her family income, she is not concerned with her finances. "Cultivating the field of blessing is more important than seeking worldly fortune. I've got a very long way to go on this recycling path yet," she said.

Separately Wu and Qu are two disadvantaged people facing many challenges, but together their synergy has catapulted them over their hurdles and made them more sure-footed and confident in life.

Translated by Tang Yau-yang
Photos by Huang Shi-ze
Used with permission of Rhythms Monthly Magazine
Source: Tzu Chi Quarterly Spring 2011


" When you view the world from a different perspective, the world becomes vast and wide. Try shifting your perspective in everything you do, and all will be light and easy. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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