At Bawu Gorge of Daning River, a simple motor ferry that could carry 15 passengers departed from Wushan Shuanglong Dock on April 9. The ferry was on an irregular course and carried only one passenger. She is Lu Lihong, a Chinese teacher from Shuanglong School. She was going to make a home visit of student Chen Zhencai before the new term begins.
“Chen Zhencai is a Grade 9 student who lives in Group 2 of Yuandu Village. It takes the shortest time to get to his house by boat,” Lu Lihong said.
After a walk of nearly 2.5 hours up the mountain, Lu finally saw a gray brick house in the distance. In front of the house, Chen and a family member were bending and doing farm work.
On the left of the lintel of their house, there is a notice for this registered poverty-stricken household, saying, “Impoverished by the burden of tuition in 2013 and lifted out of poverty in 2016”.
“We live much better now. Thanks to the government, I got a public service job, and two kids were exempted from tuition. We could get by on the hogs and grains of ourselves,” said Chen Huibao, the father of Chen Zhencai.
On the way back to Shuanglong Town, the shipowner told the reporter, “Many students of Yuandu Village studied in Shuanglong School previously, and it took 2-3 yuan a person to take a regular boat from Shuanglong Dock to the Sleeping Beauty Peak. Later, however, most of those kids graduated except Chen Zhencai and his elder sister, so the ferry business couldn’t go on.”
According to Liu Zhongliang, Headmaster of Shuanglong School, the school takes more than 2,000 yuan out of its public fund every year to pay the shipowner Dong Jingping after learning about the situation three years ago, so that the two children could take the boat to school and home. After the sister was admitted to Wushan High School last year, Chen Zhencai became the only passenger of this boat.
“I wanted to go to school, but my father told me to drop out and earn money with him,” the 16-year-old Shi Wenkui said to the reporter on April 10, when he was taking care of his father in a hospital of Wushan County. He is now a Grade 8 student in Shuanglong School.
Living in Maojiagou, Shiban Village of Shuanglong Town, Shi was a Grade 7 student in that school years ago. One day, his father told him, “I may need an operation on my leg, so you have to drop out after finishing your 7th grade.” Shi did what his father told him.
School leaders learned about this situation soon, and then Liu Zhongliang and staff of the town
government visited his family together.
“Wenkui, why did you drop out?”
“My family is in trouble, and I have to help.”
“We are here to tide you over, and we hope you could return to school.”
Shi’s head dropped lower as he heard the teacher’s words.
After learning his family status, the school exempted him from part of his tuition and dispatched teachers to communicate with his father several times. Finally, Shi returned to school.
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