A 52-year-old one-armed porter who’s been dubbed “China’s most famous porter” made headlines this week when he announced that he was ready to throw in the towel after 14 years of working and over 4,000 trips up Mount Hua, Tencent News reports.
Fellow workers help He get the cargo up on his back.
The porter, surnamed He, usually wakes up early in the morning to deliver 50 kg of cargo to a restaurant on Shaanxi province’s Mount Hua for minimal wage. When he arrives at the dangerously steep ridge, he has to carefully lower his body and take small steps towards to the stairs.
“It’s fine if I fall off and wound myself but it will be big trouble if the tourists get injured,” the porter said.
He can earn 0.55 yuan per 0.5 kg and he carries 50 kg once. “I’m supposed to get 55 yuan, but other porters have given me five more yuan,” he told reporters.
“When I go down the mountain, I collect some plastic bottles and waste paper, which can fetch another 20 yuan. If I am lucky, I can earn 2,000 yuan per month,” he said.
From the year 2008 till now, his wage has been raised by only 0.25 yuan.
“I used to go up twice every day but now only once,” said He.
Seeing as his strength isn’t what it used to be, he now spends two hours covering one trip and stops to rest over 40 times. His fellow porters only spend one hour on the trip and rest three times.
“I didn’t want to quit. My 70-year-old parents fell ill and my 30-year-old son has been suffering from congenital heart disease. Fortunately, my younger son who works in Zhejiang can earn 7,000 yuan monthly,” He said.
He carries cargo up to the mountain.
He was born in a village in Shaanxi province in 1962. His wife died from heart disease after giving birth to his second son. At that time, He needed to take care of the two kids while paying off a debt of 12,000 yuan.
He lost his left arm when he was working for a mine in Ping Dingshan, Henan province back in 1992. After the incident, his boss reimbursed him for 4,200 yuan and later sent him packing. On the train back home, he was robbed for 2,000 yuan.
After failing to find another job, He came to Mount Hua in 2000 to become a porter.
“I planned to work until 70, I don’t think I can, though,” he told reporters, sighing.
By Lucy Liu
[ Images via Tencent News]