'I can be your hands, you can be my feet'

By LI YINGQING in Kunming and CHEN MEILING | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-25 08:41
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Zhang Shundong (L) and Li Guoxiu sit in front of their house in Pingzi village, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Against all the odds, couple with physical disabilities defeat poverty and build contented family life together

Life can be grossly unfair, but it doesn't have to be filled with despair. A couple from Pingzi village, Kunming, Yunnan province, have proved that: beating all the odds to find love, build a family and lift themselves out of poverty.

Zhang Shundong, 47, was injured by a severe electric shock at the age of 6. His right arm was amputated and his feet so seriously damaged that he hobbled through most of his adult life until his lower legs were amputated.

His wife, Li Guoxiu, 50, was born without arms into an impoverished family. Her parents wanted to abandon Li, but her grandmother insisted they keep the baby girl.

Li finished middle school and learned how to work with her feet-cooking, washing clothes, mopping the floor, feeding livestock, weeding farmland, harvesting crops and even embroidering.

The couple met in 1990 on an arranged date and wed the same year. Zhang's feet were still functional and he made a living from farming. Li helped around the family farm.

"Li's family didn't agree to her marrying me at first because they were worried two disabled people could not build a life," Zhang said.

"But I told her, 'I can be your hands, you can be my feet.' There was no bumpy road we could not travel together."

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