Childrens Welfare Center
Hefei, Anhui Province, China
To A Village Near Hefei"
by Mrs. Yannie
(Edited by Mary Lynn Hodshire)
2000 July 22
visited a small village on the periphery of Hefei. This village
has a long tradition of adoption and foster children. My younger
sister YanYan accompanied me since this is the village where her sister-in-law
was adopted 53 years before. This sister-in-law, whom YanYan calls
Second Big Sister, now runs a small restaurant in downtown Hefei. Second
Big Sister travels back and forth between the city and this village where
her mother and five older brothers are living.
The second reason that I chose to visit this village is that there are
nearly two dozen children from the Hefei orphanage in foster homes in
the village. The orphanage has set up a clinic here that is in charge
of the children's medical check ups and routine medical care. The
clinic also plays a social service agency role in administering the foster
care system and approving families as foster parents. The manager of the
clinic is Dr. Qian.
I have chosen to write the description of my visit as if it were a screen
Scene 1. At a bus stop.
YanYan is searching for the name of the stop among eight different bus
signs. It is over 38 degrees C or 100.4 degrees F. She is working
her jaw as she repeats the name of the stop she is looking for. With
one hand holding a glass of tea and the other shading her eyes, she finally
decides that we need to get on Bus #26 to the village.
Scene 2. On the bus.
YanYan gets carsick easily but, thankfully, not this time. We are
on our way to a small, quaint Village. Most of the passengers on
the bus are farmers on their way home after selling their fresh vegetables
in Hefei that morning. Some of the farmers are carrying farm tools;
others have empty baskets and shoulder poles.
Two women get on the bus with a large shallow bamboo basket with a box
holding about a hundred ducklings. The little ducklings are huddling
together like little yellow puffs singing "jijijiji" all the way. The
ducklings' song enlivens the bus. Most of the people on the bus are silent;
it is too hot for anyone to talk.
Scene 3. On the way to the village.
The asphalt road is getting narrower, dustier and bumpier. Rice fields
stretch for miles on both sides of the road. Twenty minutes later
we arrived at our destination. Aunt Yang, Second Big Sister's mother
is standing in front of her house waiting for us. The bus stop is
only about two hundred yards from Aunt Yang's house.
Scene 4. A small shop with out any counters or shelves.
YanYan is buying a bottle of rice liquor as a gift for Aunt Yang. YanYan
and Aunt Yang have met before at Second Big Sister's House but this is
the first time that YanYan has visited Aunt Yang's home. It is the
custom to bring a gift when visiting someone's home for the first time.
Aunt Yang comes to the small shop and stops YanYan from buying the liquor.
She tells her firmly that religious people do not drink. Aunt
Yang is a Christian. She repeats that "people worshiping a religion
do not drink." Holding her grandson in one hand, she grabs the bottles
and puts them back.
Both Aunt Yang and her grandson are barefooted. Aunt Yang is short
and stout. Her face is brown and healthy. Now that she has
stopped her guests from spending any money on her she asks whether we
have had any breakfast.
The story goes
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