The headline is as touching as the real story of two Chinese eco-warriors, who happen to be best friends, and have planted over 10,000 trees in China over the last 10 years.
But what makes the story even better is that one of the friends, Jia Haixia from Yeli village in Jingxin County, is totally blind, while his buddy, Jia Wenqi, has no arms.
As Haixia, who lost his sight in 2000 from a disease, told reporters, “I am his hands. He is my eyes. We are good partners,” while Wenqi lost both his arms in an accident when he was three.
Haixia added, “My son came home one day and said, ‘Dad, I smelled an orange when another kid was peeling it and it was like I could taste it.’ I felt sorry for my son, that he couldn’t even eat his own orange. This motivated me to live on. I had to live for him to have more. I had to work hard and focus on making money.”
Due to his blindness, Haixia couldn’t farm nor get a job in the city so he decided to lease the river-shore from his local government and plant trees there, hoping the venture could make them a living.
When it comes to planting the saplings, Wenqi fastens an iron rod to them and waters them, while Haixia punches the holes in the ground where the saplings are planted.
As a result of their hard work, thousands of aspen and willow tress line the three-hectare stretch of shoreline, which attracts birds and other wildlife to the area.
As Haixia added, “Though we did not accomplish much in a dozens years, we recognize our effort.” At the same time, Wenqi also spoke about his job, saying, “We stand on our own feet. The fruits of our labor taste sweeter. Even though we are gnawing on steam buns, we find peace in our hearts.”
While both the men remain poor, even by China’s standards, they say they are happy with the sense of achievement they get form their work and don’t feel inferior to other people.