OPINION> list_test
Keeping love alive for a very, very long haul
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-05-27 07:39

Like many kids, one-year-and-half old Zhong Minhan loves yo-yo. At 2:28 pm of May 12, she was awakened from her afternoon nap, promptly got up and sat down at bed enjoying the two-minute swing with smiles.

And even now, she does not know that the yo-yo has claimed thousands of lives in many cities, towns and villages of her home province Sichuan. But she does know that she could not see her father Zhong Ying easily during the past two weeks as he has always been at the frontline handing out food, medicines and even worked as a guide for journalists.

Zhong, aged 28, is part of the influx of volunteers extending their helping hands to those parents who lost their kids and students who lost their parents to the quake, the aftershocks, landslides and floods of quake lakes.

With him as a guide, our China Daily reporting team reached several devastated towns in high mountains, sometimes by foot, walking on broken railways and twisted bridges and finally had talks with survivors escaping from their homes in the dense forests.

Zhong is not only a guide for our photographer and me. He was so warm-hearted that every time we came back from Deyang, our car would be filled with water, food, clothes gathered by him from his relatives or friends.

And he told me: "In this hard time, you journalists should not only work for your paper but give help and aid at the same time."

I could not agree with him more.

Indeed, I promised to myself since the earthquake that I would work by reporting and also voluntarily joining in aid delivery efforts for the people there, especially for those kids and the old in the high mountains.

To achieve this, my friends in the UK and other countries have set up a website http://sichuanearthquake.org.uk/, calling for online donation. And we are now designing programs to spend the money donated and anyone's input and suggestions are extremely valuable.

Like Zhong, many, many volunteers and friends moved me deeply. For the past two weeks, my email boxes and mobile phones are filled with warm greetings and applications to adopt children or financially support them.

The message from one of my colleagues read: "I am determined to support two kids for their education and living expenses and my husband and I will work as their parents." She asked me to help her achieve this.

So far, I have got about 10 messages like this. I will help them make their love reach those in need.

My friend in the BBC, Alex Kirby, aged 67, and his wife had discussed with me in March how to help the Chinese poor during their stay in China. The second day after the quake, he wrote to me saying "he feels sad" and wanted to do what he can.

Very soon, Ms Kirby wrote to me again. "I know that Alex has contacted you", she said, "but I wanted to do so myself too as the news looks so appalling and we feel for you all. I believe that your parents and Michelle's parents come from the Sichuan province, and am hoping and praying that they are all safe and well, despite the dreadful pictures we are seeing on television and in our newspapers."

She continued: "China has responded swiftly and efficiently as best as it can to this terrible tragedy, but it will be a very, very long haul, and please know that our thoughts are with you."

All these healing words and actions always inspired me to reach the poor and the hard-hit people who are still living in extremely harsh conditions.

Now, as Zhong and friends in Sichuan did, I would fill my car's rear with necessities and hand them out to my interviewees if they need them.

And last Thursday and Friday, the skilled driver Zeng Xiaohong drove me to Qingchuan and Pingwu, which were located in high-rising steep mountains. Slight tremors occurred frequently, though the survivors have already been used to aftershocks and tremors.

What was worse was that long stretches of landslides have cut the main road off and Pingwu has been isolated by the broken road.

But Zeng, aged 40, was not afraid. "Our soldiers and police have endangered their lives and driven on the one-way narrow village road weaving through mountains," he said. "Trust me and I will help you reach the suffering people."

Finally we made it, though we feared that blowing the horn of the car might cause sand and stones to fall down from scarred mountains. We conquered our fears and there we found that people badly in need of tents, medicines and other necessities.

Healing the trauma of those who have lost their loved ones, rebuilding homes for those millions of people and creating education and job opportunities for them are daunting challenges in the long run. To battle these challenges after burying the dead, we need to pray for more love and voluntary contribution.

(China Daily 05/27/2008 page8)