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Senior citizen picks through garbage piles to support family

By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-12-05 20:51

She first did odds and ends in a restaurant for about a month. After the restaurant owner discovered her age through her identification card, he did not dare to employ her.

"He said I was over 60 and women of my age had retired. If I fell down in the restaurant and injured myself, he was to blame, pay for my treatment and compensate my losses," Jiang said.

Leaving the restaurant, she failed in attempts to find a job because of her age. To feed and clothe herself and her husband, Jiang picked up useful materials from dustbins in the street.

"At first, I was afraid of meeting people from Ziyang because only beggars searched dustbins for useful materials," Jiang said.

Soon afterwards, her daughter, Zheng Shulan, was pregnant in Ziyang. Before giving birth, her husband, Tang Zhongxiu, had no money. Jiang returned home using the money she had earned by selling useful materials from dustbins to send her daughter to a hospital.

After her grandson, Tang Zheng, was 1 month old, Jiang took him to Chengdu. As she could not afford to buy milk power, she cooked rice and sweet potatoes together and fed the baby their liquid.

When Tang Zheng was one and a half years old, his father died of stomach cancer in Ziyang. Jiang had to take his mom, Zheng Shulan, to Chengdu.

When Jiang looked for useful materials, she carried her grandson with her. The boy is 18 years old and is unemployed and dropped out of a vocational school.

Jiang has to dress her daughter, Zheng Shulan, and feed her three meals each day.

"But I am afraid of dying before my husband and daughter. I have to live longer," she said.

After the media reported Jiang's story in late November, many kind-hearted people visited her less than 10-square-meter home with food and cash. The Jinniu district bureau of civil affairs in Chengdu has pledged to help her grandson find a job.

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