Every morning, the two friends wake up at 7AM and then head out for a day’s tree planting.
Looking at the lush, green vegetation north of the Yeli Village in Sunzhuang Township, China, it’s hard to imagine that a mere 12 years ago, those plains had nothing but rock and weed.
The fantastic transformation is thanks to to the hard work and dedication of a blind man named Jia Haixia and his friend, a double amputee with no arms named Jia Wenqi. They have spent more than 10 years planting thousands of trees to revive the once-barren environment surrounding their village.
53-year-old Haixia was born blind in one eye and lost the other in 2000 in a work-related accident. Wenqi, also 53, lost his arms in an accident at the age of 3.
After Haixia became fully blind, the two friends had difficulties finding a job, so they decided to lease over 8 acres of land from the local government with the goal of planting trees for future generations. While pursuing their noble goal, Haixia and Wenqi have also protected their village from flooding, which has earned them some modest income from government funding. With little money to buy saplings, they rely on taking cuttings from grown trees and planting them to create new life in their community.
Having lived and worked side by side for over a decade, the pair have learned how to overcome their disabilities while cooperating. Wenqi often carries the sightless Haixia on his back across the local river, while Haixia climbs up to the top of trees to cut off the boughs that will become new trees. Once back on the ground, he digs holes in the ground to plant the new cuttings; Wenqi then takes care of the growing saplings by watering them.
With this unique way of working together, the friends estimate that they’ve planted over 10,000 trees in over 10 years.
News of the duo’s heroic efforts went viral in China and they have received a tremendous amount of attention and support ever since. According to Hebei Haoren, people have donated them with enough money to provide for pensions to support their lifestyles.
Also, Xinhua News Agency has shared the exciting news that Haixia may be able to regain sight in his left eye thanks to an operation that a team of health care professionals are ready to perform for free. The heartwarming story of these two friends seem to underscore the saying, no good deed goes unnoticed!