Disabled farmer plants trees for 30 years

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, October 14, 2013
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Disabled farmer Wang Guoyun, whose feet suffer from a natural birth defect, has planted thousands of trees in his hometown of Yunyang Shuangjiang Town, Chongqing Municipality, over the past 30 years.

When he was awarded with the nation’s supreme "Mother River Prize" for his contributions to environmental protection half a month ago, he cared about nothing but the reward the prize entailed.


Wang Guoyun is kneeling to plant trees [Chongqing Morning Post] 

"Is there any bonus that comes with the award?" he asked. Trying to survive on an income of 400 yuan (US$65) a month, Wang has to borrow money to make ends meet.

According to him, he needs the money to pay off his debts. Besides, he wants to install a television in his room, which he rents for 100 yuan a month in a roadside apartment.

Wang, who lives alone, said he needs a television to kill time and expel the loneliness.

Wang started to plant trees in the 1980s, when the country called for farmers to strive for more green land. Having received saplings from the government, Wang embarked on his career as a voluntary gardener for the forestation of the village.

Due to his disability, Wang, who often wears shoes made of steel and braided grass, cannot complete the process like any other healthy human being could. He must kneel down to dig the holes before putting in the trees. After some 30 years of doing so, his knees are now covered in thick calluses.

The mountain of the town has been blanketed in thousands of trees as the saplings from the old days have now grown into big trunks. Some of the trees' diameters now reach up to 40 centimeters.

The only tool Wang takes along with him is a hoe. His lunch is usually composed of a bag of dried instant noodle and a cup of water. Wang's dog usually accompanies him on his tours up the mountain and Wang will share his food with it.

When asked why he stays on this particular and arduous planting course, Wang replied that as a farmer, he cannot sit idle every day and do nothing.

In line with the "Mother River Prize" regulations, Wang will be rewarded the sum of 20,000 yuan. Additionally, he will soon be relocated to a new flat of 60 square meters in town. Although this improved lifestyle delights Wang, he worries that when moving into the new place he may not be able to continue his tree planting.

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