A love that isn’t influenced by money
Apower outage occurred while I was interviewing Liao Yanfei, head of Jinsha village, in the small room where he stores cured meat.
Without a fuss, Liao’s wife, Wang Yinhua, found two candles so the couple’s young twins could continue with their homework. To my surprise, the 9-yearolds, a boy and a girl, didn’t make a sound; instead they carried on writing quietly, except for one occasion when they asked me if I would like a snack. Meanwhile, Wang showed me photos of the family she has stored in her mobile phone, saying she looks at them every now and then: “I like reviewing the time we (she and Liao) got together, although sometimes things were tough.” When he was a child, Liao’s family was the poorest in Jinsha in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture, Hunan province, and power cuts were a regular occurrence. “But poverty didn’t stop us pursuing our own happiness,” he said.
I was impressed by the warmth of the couple’s small talk as we sat and waited for the electricity to return. In the small, dimly lit room, I forgot how cold it was — the temperature started falling rapidly in the province at the end of last month — and I began to understand that sometimes making a better life isn’t related to people’s economic situations.
Liao’s children are lucky. “When I gave birth to them, I was determined to find work at home because I didn’t want them to be ‘leftbehind kids’,” Wang said. “Nothing is more important than a family being united.”
I rarely think about poverty when I’m working on my usual beat in Beijing — reporting about policies and legal matters.
However, my meetings with the residents of Jinsha helped me to realize that some people still live in harsh environments that the country needs to eradicate and journalists need to cover.
At the same time, I felt a type of love that isn’t influenced by finances, and that power can also lift families out of poverty.