Orphans from quake-ravaged Qinghai in Shanghai for Expo

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Two orphans who survived an earthquake that shook a Tibetan area of northwest China's Qinghai Province two weeks ago have arrived in Shanghai for the World Expo that is set to opens on Friday.

Kekyi Wangmo and Jangba Tsering, still haunted by the nightmarish quake that jolted their hometown in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu on April 14, seemed excited but shy in the spotlight Thursday when they were making last-minute preparations for Friday's artistic performances that are to open the six-month exposition.

"Frankly speaking, I'm still scared [of the quake]," said Kekyi Wangmo, 11, in broken Mandarin. "It's a pleasure indeed to visit Shanghai and all the Expo facilities."

The girl has just recovered from her foot injuries, but the psychological trauma inflicted by the quake and the deaths of her loved ones, takes much longer to heal.

She and Jangba Tsering won the heart of almost everyone at the Expo sites that straddle the Huangpu River.

Other children who have been invited to Friday's opening gala offered them gifts ranging from satchels, books and stationery to clothing.

"I'd love to have a Barbie, too," said Kekyi Wangmo with a beam.

In sharp contrast with the quiet and heavy-hearted girl, Jangba Tsering, from an orphanage in Yushu, was more lively and energetic.

The boy, who was at least 20 cm shorter than Kekyi Wangmo, claimed he was 10, but a teacher who accompanied the children to Shanghai said he was seven at most.

Before they visited the Expo facilities, the children also spent time with their peers at a Shanghai juvenile center and learned to make puppets of Haibao, the blue mascot doll of the Expo.

Throughout their Shanghai tour, they are accompanied by teachers from their hometown, doctors and volunteers.

At least 2,200 people died and more than 100,000 were left homeless when the 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Yushu Prefecture April 14.

The whole nation has reached out helping hands with donations of cash and supplies, relief work and voluntary services.


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