Written about ARDY’S customer Wu QiongLan
Looming under purple clouds with a small brook passing by lies a town called Yongle. Yongle is surrounded by verdant hills and green waters. A single house was built along the market street. The environment around the house was exquisite and the scenery delightful. Several wine breweries lined up in rows. This is the home of Wu QiongLan and her family of six 10 years ago.
In December 1989, because the supply and marketing agency had reforms, Wu QiongLan’s husband los his job. When their breadwinner no longer had an income, the family members could do nothing about it and felt miserable. However, tragic fates do not scare strong people. Wu Qionglan soon ran a small town brewery with relatives’ help and her diligence. As a result of her honest management, the business was gradually thriving in less than a year. To satisfy the demand, Wu QiongLan expanded the brewery and replaced the technology used to make wine. Soon her brewery became famous in the town. The busy manager now had an increasing income and a wealthier life. In less than five years, her tile-roofed house was replaced by a new storied building.
Good times did not last long. In 1997, Wu QiongLan’s husband Li Jian suffered from vertebral atrophy. His originally good health was destroyed. In order to cure her husband, Wu QiongLan spent all their savings. In the daytime, she had to go from place to place raising money. At night, she would tiredly nurse her husband. During this time, her “wine-making” fortune tree slowly withered.
There was no longer a source of income for the household. They went into poverty and were unable to make any expenses. Wu QiongLan tired herself out for her family; her body became weary and weak. However, their sincerity did not move God’s compassion. In 1999, her husband was completely paralyzed in bed. To let her husband live for a few more days, Wu travelled everywhere to beg relatives, implicate friends, and accumulate debt. After the Spring Festival of 2001, her husband passed away. Wu broken-hearted and deeply grieved. With elderly, frail parents and her under-age children, she felt a very heavy burden. Whenever she thought of this great responsibility, her mind went to into a sense o urgency and bitter tears blurred her eyes.
In 2003, not long after her son Li Jun worked at the Post Office in Yongle, he swindled more than 100,000 RMB and disappeared. To repay back the debt, Wu had to mortgage her house. Looking at this situation, Wu QiongLan suddenly felt in a state of chaos and darkness. The family of five held each other tightly and cried. A happy person now rendered homeless; a warm-loving home edged toward the border of misery.
Wu QiongLan had cried all her tears out. Her eyes bled blood. Her heart laid cold. She almost wanted to just commit suicide to escape it all. But when she thought of her family and how the family’s elders and children depended on her, she became resolute. She would continue to live. A heart that was about to wither suddenly burned with hope.
In September 2003, the Yongle Branch of ARDY found out about Wu’s story and took the initiative to help her family. When Wu had nothing to eat, the branch called on the merchants to donate food and money. When her family members fell ill, the branch sent for a doctor to give them diagnosis and treatment. Over the past a few years, the Yongle Branch provided loans worth a total of 30,000 RMB, allowing her family to go back into the wine business. All these actions remained in Wu QiongLan’s mind and warmed her heart. She could never forget the meticulous care given by ARDY’s three staff members.
Only after experiencing sadness can one become happy. Only walking through thorns and brambles can one become stronger. Only experiencing the storm can one enjoy the sunshine. In order to repay the staff members’ kindness and others who cared for her, Wu QiongLan concentrated her efforts on making wine. She kept learning wine-brewing technology from nearby wine factories. She lowered production costs and raised output while ensuring quality. She put all her energy and time into wine-brewing. Because she lacked money, she did not hire workers; instead, she did everything herself. During the day, she went around to purchase grain, which was used to make wine, and dried distillers’ grain under the sun. At night, she made wine in the brewery alone. Only when she needed to transport heavy things would she ask her relatives and friends for help. At first, she made wine every four days; later, she made wine twice every four days. Many times she fell asleep on the floor. Many times she soaked her clothes with sweat. Many times she was weary with back pain and paralyzed on the floor. Many times the steam scalded her skin. Many times she was hospitalized due to fatigue.
Where there is a will, there is a way. God will not put a blind eye on hard-workers. The winery’s business was booming again with Wu QingLan’s painstaking care. An endless stream of people came to buy wine, and sometimes supply falls short of demand. In order to meet the needs of consumers, she expanded her winery very quickly. In less than three years, Wu QiongLan had three wineries. Her income grew and her life got better. Yet, everyday she reminded herself of her past. Although she was not very rich, she showed concern for laid-off workers and searched for ways to provide them with employment opportunities. For the past few years, she hired five laid-off workers and paid them monthly wages of 600 RMB. During the Spring Festival, she would buy some daily necessities for old, childless widows and ask about their health.
Facing misfortune, Wu QiongLan did not recoil in fear. She used her strong faith and willpower to forge a fighter’s path, a path that relentlessly overcame adversity.
(Translated by Liu YuLiang and edited by Jennifer Yau)