Unlike the many rural people who have found themselves unable to
endure living in their hometowns and have opted instead to pursue
their dreams in the city, Liu Juhua, a physically-challenged
teacher, has voluntarily settled down in an isolated village in
Hukou County, Jiangxi Province.
His experiment in contrariety seems to be paying off: He has
worked in the countryside for almost 10 years now, according to
Nanchang-based Jiangnan Metropolitan Daily.
Bailu Bay Village is surrounded by water on three sides and a
mountain on the fourth, effectively cutting it off from the rest of
the world. Its location has doomed it to poverty.
For many years, children there have had to take a boat and then
walk several kilometers every day just to attend classes in a
In 1997, the county education department decided to set up a
small school in Bailu Bay Village for pre-school and grade one and
two students. However, no teachers were willing to come to the
poverty-stricken village - none except Liu.
Liu, who was 41 at the time, suffers from serious disabilities
in his right foot and arm due to a bout of polio in childhood. He
became a substitute teacher in 1976 and quickly built up a
reputation in the school for his hard work.
Considering his disabilities, the school at first refused his
application. However, touched by his insistence, they eventually
relented. Since then, Liu has been the village's only teacher.
Every day Liu gives 12 classes to dozens of students. His daily
workload equals that of four healthy teachers.
Enduring soreness and pains in his back and waist, Liu sits up
late at night correcting the students' papers and preparing for
class for the following day. Liu is only paid 300 yuan (US$38) a
month for his work because he is still considered a substitute
Despite his meager income, Liu has been generous with the poor
students. He often pays for their textbooks and food to give them
an incentive to continue studying.
In the past decade, Liu has fully devoted himself to the school,
so much so that the now 51-year-old is still single. He can only
spare the weekends to visit his mother, who is in her 80s and lives
alone in the county.
But as an old saying goes, the more plowing and weeding, the
better the final crop. Liu's students have won prizes at some
county-level and provincial competitions, and he himself has many
times been granted the title of "model teacher".
Liu has been gratified by his students' performance and said
that in the past 10 years, he has never regretted his decision to
teach at Bailu Bay Village.
(China Daily May 25, 2007)