Monday Meeting — Blind Man & Double Amputee Survive Together



Sometimes a story comes along that cannot help but tug at the heartstrings. Any example of great achievement in the face of adversity deserves to be recognized – and that is exactly what we have here.

Jia Haixa and Jia Wenqi are environmentalist of a very unique sort. The former is blind, while the latter is a double-amputee. Together over the last decade, they have managed to use their symbiotic relationship to plant over 10,000 trees.

Unable to find jobs due to their impairments, and aware of environmental issues close to where they live, Haixa and Wenqi decided to do something quite extraordinary.

Working as one, they have become each other’s eyes and hands in the task of transforming a three-hectare stretch of riverbank in Yeli village, in north China’s Hebei Province. Planting the trees not only provides an income to feed their families, but it also helps prevent the flooding of nearby villages by strengthening the flood plains.

“I am his hands,” said Haixia in a recent interview with People’s Daily Online. “He is my eyes. We are good partners.”

The 53-year-old was born with congenital cataracts that blinded his left eye. His situation worsened in 2000 when he lost site in his right eye after a work-related accident.

Wenqi has lived with his impairment since he was 3, after losing both arms in an accident.

blind I

The two met in 2001. Both were unable to secure work yet desperately needed a way to earn a living.

Haixia speaks of how he wanted to provide for his family: “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.”

The words of his son stirred him on to succeed. “I had to live for him to have more.” Haixia said, “I had to work hard and focus on making money.”

So together, Haixia and Wenqi came up with a plan to combine their skills in whatever way they could.

This led them to the idea that they could plant trees; a move that would earn them the extra money they so badly needed.

They approached the local government to lease a large stretch of the riverbank near Yeli. In view of their poor living conditions the authorities decided to exempt them from paying rent.

And now ten years on, the two have planted nearly 10,000 trees.

Each day, they leave their home at 7am armed with a hammer and iron rod. Wenqi carries his blind companion across the fast-moving river to reach their portion of the bank.

blind II

Since they do not have enough money to purchase saplings, they have to manually collect cuttings, which isn’t easy considering their impairments.

Haixia, guided by his armless companion, slowly scales the trees to collect cuttings. He then returns to solid ground where he digs a hole and plants the new shoot.

Wenqi then takes care of watering the saplings.

It is a very slow process, however the two of them keep on going. “Though we did not accomplish much in dozens of years, we recognize the effort,” Haixia said.

Ultimately, they are independent. Haixia has been able to provide for his family against all odds, and together they are rightly proud of what they have achieved.

“We stand on our own feet,” Wenqi added. “The fruits of our labor taste sweeter. Even though we are gnawing on steam buns, we find peace in our hearts.”


Thursday Re-View — Kaleidoscope


You of magnificent beauty.

You soar, you leap, you create.

You allow molten tears to scald my heart,
to carve deep channels of pain and loss.

Yet those random channels follow a course as old as time…
No — older — pulled in a direction already known.

And so the tears flow, scarring my heart.
They sear into my soul,
then collect into a reservoir
carpeted in the velvet of midnight.

No movement. Into the abyss of despair.

Then a glimmer…faint.

No — silence; all is still.

Then, a swirl — a spiral —
of blues and turquoise, of teal and purple —
spearing the darkness with light.
Dancing, sparkling, shooting upward.

You glimmer and spark and shimmer
as you bounce across the heavens.
Moving toward the darkest of broken places,
leaving brilliant cascades of shimmering light
in Your wake.

Until each of those bursts of shimmering light
coalescence into a kaleidoscope of magnificent beauty.

I am struck. I gasp. I kneel, only to collapse.

My tears immerse me in baptism
until my heart explodes in a whirlwind of color,
and the love pours over me, through me.

Its wings envelop me,
and I soar toward that which is
almost painful to gaze upon.

I cannot look, but I must see.

Racing, longing, streaming toward the place of my creation —
of all creation — of oneness. Whole.

I left, only to return.

I wept, only to gasp.

I burned, only to temper.

The vibration. The fire.

I dissolve. I merge. I end.

I begin. I am home.

I am. Yours.


Thursday Re-View — Heart Song

If I were a song…

If I were a song, what would I sound like?

At birth, luminous angels must trumpet the Hallelujah Chorus for each and every soul in celebration of their birth, their innocence, their precious light.

As an infant, I must have sounded like wind chimes…softly stirring, different refrains, yet always in harmony. Tripping like water over pebbles in a winding brook, exploring different paths, yet always pulled forward.

But there were deeper tones – starts and stops, hesitation, background noise – too quiet – almost imagined.

Then – regimented, in step with military precision (what happened to the wind chimes? the babbling brook?), with a cadence never out of step.

Oh, no – never out of step.

Ominous darkness with undertones of rhythmic despair; on and on, building to a crescendo. A cacophony of discordant sound – keening wails, shrieks, cries, moans… Until cymbals crash and everything stops.

Then silence…echoes of silence…

But wait –

There it was –

Faint at first –

The wind chimes, the sparkling notes of laughter and joy, of innocence and love, of life and hope and play… Bright colored, shimmering golds and purples, a glittering rainbow of dance…

Free style dance.

Theresa’s dance.

It sang with spirit and direction and confidence in itself, this song. This heart song…

It never stopped, never left.


It was always there, lighting my way, dancing in the darkness, spilling its notes through the channels of my heart carved by tears.

My heart song.

Always there in celebration, always my own; song of Your heart, song of my own.