On June 1, 2023, World Children's Day, we donated stuffed toys to the children of Lide Village Elementary School in Yunnan Province, China.
· Stuffed toys as special "good friends" are loved by children, but children in mountainous areas often hide some of their childlike whims due to family circumstances. They are understanding towards their families, and when asked what they want as a gift, their answers tend to be practical things such as school supplies, daily necessities, or even rejecting the question altogether. Rarely do they express their true desires from the depths of their hearts. But which child doesn't want to have a special stuffed toy friend?
· We set off at sunrise, but by the time we arrived, it was already evening. We drove into the mountainous area, and the journey turned out to be much longer and the road conditions much more challenging than we had anticipated. At a point 3 kilometers away from the village, the vehicles could no longer pass through. We had to pack all the supplies and stuffed toys we brought and carry them up the mountain along a stone-paved path.
· In the evening, the mountains were covered by tall trees, and apart from the flashlight's beam, there was no trace of light. If we hadn't encountered a villager returning from the well with water, we might have had to camp in that spot. He led us to his home, a small village with scattered lights twinkling like stars.
· The next morning, the village chief took us to the village's elementary school—a small, single-story building made of stones and mud. The villagers were already waiting outside. The school had only 15 students and one teacher, yet the room was packed to the brim. I could see anticipation and excitement in their eyes.
· As we brought out one brand new stuffed toy after another, the children couldn't contain their excitement. On this day that belonged to them, they received the most satisfying gifts. Smiles lit up their faces, and they eagerly showed off their newfound dolls to their classmates, exuding joy and delight.
· A joyful and special Children's Day, with the bright smiles and infectious laughter of the children, that is the true meaning of our journey.