Hopefully coming soon to a theater near you: The heartwarming story of a blind man and his friend, a double amputee with no arms, who fight against all odds to try to restore a once-barren area by planting thousands of trees, in the process protecting their Hebei village from flooding.
The characters: Jia Haixia—a Hubei man who lost his sight in a work-related accident when he was 37 years old. Jia Wenqi—his friend, who lost both of his arms in an accident when he was just 3 years old.
Brought to you by Sina News: Depressed from losing his eyesight, Jia Haixia asks his friend, “What now can we possibly do with our lives?” Jia Wenqi thinks about the question and their singular circumstances. He replies, “Let’s plant trees!”
The two go together to the village committee. The village officials are facing a looming catastrophe. The area around the nearby river has become a desolate wasteland. There is a serious risk of flooding to the village. What can be done? The unlikely pair arrive just in time and the village entrusts these two underdogs with revitalizing 8 acres of land and saving the village from destruction
The two become inseparable. Jia Haixia is his friend’s hands and Jia Wenqi is his friend’s eyes. Every morning the two leave the village together, with Jia Haixia gripping his friend’s sleeve. They’ve been doing it this way for the last 14 years.
The pair has no money to buy saplings, so in order to grow new trees they must climb up tall trees and chop off branches using a sickle. Of course, it falls to Jia Haixia to scale the trees as Jia Wenqi directs. As you can imagine, some falls happen.
At first the pair try digging in the ground using a shovel, but this becomes too difficult. Instead they develop an ingenious method of smashing thick iron bars into the ground in order to plant and irrigate the trees. Again, the job of hammer swinging falls to Jia Haixia. As you can imagine, some bruised thumbs happen.
Of course, this story is about more than just minor pratfalls. After the first year, the two friends had somehow managed to plant 800 willow trees. But the next year, only two had survived.
The friends didn’t quit. The next year they went back out. They improved their method and selected better plots of land. The following year, 100 trees survived the winter.
So now, after more than a decade of planting resulting in nearly 10,000 trees, the two are able to enjoy their lunch together in the forest that they’ve created together.
Come on Hollywood! Get working on this! It could totally knock off Transformers 4!
by Alex Linder
[Images via Sina]