53-year-old Jia Wenqi and 54-year-old Jia Haixia, two Chinese men, have been doing something awesome for the last 13 years. They have planted more than 10,000 trees around the village of Yeli in northeastern China. This region was once covered with nothing but rocks and weeds.
However, this is not the most surprising part of the story. Haixa is completely blind, and Wenqi is a double amputee with no arms. These men have completed their mission despite their handicaps.
Haixia was born with congenital cataracts that left his left eye blind. In 2000, he lost sight in his other eye after a work accident. Wenqi had a tragic accident at the age of three years old, as a result of which he lost both of his arms.
In 2002, when Haixia and Wenqi were struggling to secure jobs, they came up with a genius plan. They would make money planting trees and revive the area around their village. They wanted to create a better home for future generations.
So, they leased 8 acres of land near the Ye River from the local government and set their plan into action.
Haixia told The Globe and Mail, “Our tree planting may not have much substantial benefit for the present generation, but it leaves a green environment to the next one. We are physically disabled but mentally healthy. We have this big dream in our heart to leave a stretch of green to our children.”
How have Haixia and Wenqi planted over 10,000 trees?
With teamwork. They regularly work together and help each other to get their jobs done.
“I am his hands,” said Haixia. “He is my eyes. We are good partners.”
They wake up at 7 a.m. every morning and go to the site to plant trees.
Wenqi carries Haixia on his back through the river.
They use cuttings from older trees to grow new ones because they do not have the money to buy saplings. Wenqi directs Haixia as he climbs the trees.
Sometimes they fail, but they never give up.
“Just ask a normal person to work with his arms in his pockets, like Wenqi!” Haixia said. “We handicapped people have an endurance that normal people don’t possess.”
Local villagers have seen their hard work and were moved to help. Volunteers help plant trees and donate saplings. Doctors have offered to perform surgery on Haixia’s eyes so that he can see again. Some people have even donated money so that they have a nice place to live and food to eat.