I Am His Hands…He Is My Eyes!

Are you ready for a story that’s guaranteed to make you sit up and say, what am I doing with my life?!? Two men in China, in Yeli Village, to be exact, have spent the past few years planting over 10,000 trees. That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment, but one of the men is blind, and the other has no hands!

Jai Wenqi lost both of his hands in childhood, and his best friend Jia Hiaxia went blind in 2000, but the two men didn’t let either of these facts stop them when, in 2002, they decided to turn a wasteland of stones and sand into a forest near their village. Nearly every day, Jai Wenqi carries Jia Hiaxia on his back across a river, where they plant the trees that have grown into a lovely shaded grove over the past 15 years.

Their concern is for future generations, for the children who will come after them and the planet they will inherit. Their village, they say smiling, is now protected by 10,000 green soldiers, trees that are filled with birds and small animals where once there was just dust. Though they say they struggle financially, “we’re so delighted spiritually.” It’s not easy work. Jai Wenqi hauls water using his shoulders and neck in a kind of shimmy, and Jia Hiaxia digs where Jai Wenqi tells him is appropriate. Both men say, however, that they don’t feel inhibited at all. “When we work together,” Jia Hiaxia says, “we don’t feel disabled at all.”