Story 52

His kindness impressed me deeply

Fifteen months after I was born, infantile paralysis took away my ability to walk.

Christina with Leonard

From then on, I was confined indoors. I was unable to play with other children outside, and couldn’t go to school. When looking out the window, I couldn’t keep my tears from running down my cheeks. How I longed to get up on my feet and walk!

I was anxious to find a way out by mastering a special skill. Starting by listening to the radio, I studied English by myself without a tutor to teach me. Then I learned to type both in Chinese and English. A research institute gave me some typing work and they were happy with my work. From then on, I was not only able to earn my living, but also to enjoy it very much. When I was typing, I felt as if I was playing on a piano. I took an almost spiritual comfort in typing. In May 1989 I won second place and a silver medal for English typing at a National Contest of Professional Skills of Disabled People.

Later in the same year, the Kunming Cheshire Home was built. I came to Kunming Cheshire Home as a teacher and trained the residents in typing and using computers. At the opening ceremony of Kunming Cheshire Home, I met Leonard Cheshire for the first time. His kindness impressed me deeply. I thank him always for creating such a warm and wonderful home for us.

In 1991, I went to Hong Kong to take part in the 3rd International Olympics of Occupational Skills Contests for disabled people. Two years later I took part in The National Competition for Typing in Beijing and won the first place of China. Most significantly, I was the only disabled person in that competition. In the same year, I also had the chance to visit the Singapore Cheshire Home to study computer technology and practice oral English. Those experiences encouraged me and gave me more confidence in life.

As the Chinese saying goes, ‘Those who have the same illness sympathise with each other.’ Many disabled people would hate be regarded as a burden to their family and society. I think education can liberate the human mind, and can change one’s destiny. With education we don’t have any reason to face life without smiles.

When I was typing, I felt as if I was playing on a piano. I took an almost spiritual comfort in typing.