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  • I have heard many stories throughout the course of my life about hardship, about labor, about toil, and about determination, but none came alive to me until I met its subject face-to-face.

    Meet Mr. Xi. He is an engineer in a small city in remote Northwest China. Although he is doing better now that he ever has, he comes from humble beginnings.

    He lived just outside of a small village in caves with his family, which included my best friend. There was no electricity, hardly any water, no paved roads, and a lot of their diet consisted of potatoes with a few bits of meat and vegetables.

    Rice was a luxury.

    Not much could grow in their desert village, but they survived as well as they could under such circumstances.

    One day, Mr. Xi heard about an opening at a school in a school located in the closest proper city, which was about a 2-3 hour slow drive over bumpy, dusty, and muddy roads.

    He wanted his son to have a better life than he did, so he walked all day and all night and most of the next day and arrived at the city. The opening was still at the school, so he was able to send his 10 year old son there to have the opportunity to learn and grow and to have a better life than he did.

    He walked back to his village and worked in the fields until he could save enough money to move to the city, which he did about two years later. He worked in the fields and his wife cooked food at a food stall and they saved what little they had in order to be with their son in the city.

    Now in the city, he continues to live in what we would call poverty, but he is rich in love and family. This little boy he is holding in this picture is not his son, but a friend's son whom he loves and treats as his own. He is constantly surrounded by friends and relatives who look to him as a person who knows what it is to be alive and is willing to help people out of nothing but his own love and generosity.

    I have never met such a happy and giving person as this man since, and after hearing about his life, I could barely look him in the eye out of my own feeling of inferiority and the immense amount of respect I had for him.

    Words cannot describe my feelings towards this man, but I hope that one day I can be as rich as him in love and friendship. I am blessed to have met him and stayed in his home.
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