China-Grandmother -- Grandmother carries disabled granddaughter on back to school for three years in China
CCTV BEIJING - A 57-year-old granny, named Xiang Yuncui, walks five kilometers of mountain paths daily to carry her granddaughter to school in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
An infantile cerebral palsy rendered the granddaughter Tan Houyangm incapable of walking to school like other children. The journey she has covered with the child on her back during the past three years is well more than 10,000 kilometers.
Xiang and Tan live in Baolong Village of Baolong Town in Wushan County, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. The girl suffered congenital cerebral palsy from birth and was found unable to walk as normal children do. A further misfortune struck this poor family when the little girl's father died from a traffic accident in 2008. Tan's mother had to leave home to find a job, and the little girl was left living with her grandparents, who remain in their native village.
As time passed by, Tan was seven years old. Seeing her peers all going to school, the girl implored her grandma to carry her to school as well.
Granny agreed and their long-lasting hard journey to school began since then. A disabled student, Tan was not admitted as a lodging student as other children in school. She has to go to school and come back home everyday on her grandma's back. Xiang has to get up at 05:00 daily to prepare their breakfast, helps the girl clothe and dress up.
The school is five kilometers away from their home and the mountain road in between makes the trip a hard one. In order to arrive in time, Xiang and her child set out at 06:30 every morning.
"Usually the morning journey is the most challenging because we have to hurry, afraid of being late for the school hour. We set out at about 06:30 and try to get to school at around 08:30 after a two-hour walk," said Xiang.
They have to walk a long section of mountain road, to struggle over some muddy, narrow country paths, and climb up and down some flights of precipitous stone staircases. They cannot remember how many times they have tripped on the way during rainy or snowy days.
"Once, my grandma had to run in order to get me to school on time. She fell down and bruised her knees. Yet she tried to hide her bleeding knees from my view at the time," said Tan.
By 08:20 they would arrive at school. As Tan is mobility-restricted, her granny would help her take out her textbooks from the schoolbag before leaving the classroom. When the class is in session, the granny would wait outside, seating herself in the corridor while spending the time with her needlework, and stealing a few glimpses into classroom occasionally to see if her granddaughter is all right.
When the bell rings for a break, she would hurry into classroom and help Tan go to the toilet downstairs, or take her down to the school yard for her to play together with other children.
"My teachers in the school all have high esteem for the grandma of little Tan. Since Tan entered our Shibei Primary School as first grader, her granny has never stopped carrying her to school and picking her back every day, never late even for a single day. When the granny is ill, she still tried hard to carry the girl to school," said Tan Zhonghan, a teacher from Shibei Primary School.
Xiang said she would quit as long as she still has the strength to carry her granddaughter to and from school.
"I will keep carrying her to school as long as I can, and carry her through junior and senior middle schools," said Granny Xiang.
In three years time, the little girl has been going to school on her granny's back, and Tan has grown up and seems to understand all that her granny has done for her.
"It is a bit cold on their way in winter time when my grandma carries me to school. I want to knit a scarf to keep her warm in winter," said Tan.
The story of the elder granny and her granddaughter then got widely known to the public and their modest wishes also touched the hearts of many people from all walks of life.
Currently, the Party Committee and Government of Wushan County have decided to enlist Tan to the list of medical assistance as among cases of major diseases. A therapeutic schedule is being made by the local Health Department, and she was given treatment by the best surgeon in the county.
The Shibei Primary School has exempted her from all schooling expenses, and offered a free lunch, in addition to numerous other provisions to help Tan with her schooling.
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