Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Loving Others' Rejects"

Just go read this beautiful story in yesterday's LA Times. Here's the beginning:
ANDING, China — Chen Shangyi makes a living as a scavenger. He prides himself on having a good nose for unusual finds. So when he saw a crowd clustered around a white bundle at the local train station one day while he was hunting for empty soda cans and soy sauce bottles, he couldn't resist taking a peek.

It was a baby, wrapped in a thin sheet.

"Everybody was just looking. Nobody would do anything," recalled Chen, who was 65, already retirement age, on that bitterly cold, snowy day 17 years ago.

"When I took her home, she was frozen stiff. My wife and I wrapped her in a burlap bag…. We started a fire. We fed her soup and put some old clothes on her. A while later, she started to wiggle." Chen named her Ling Ling.

Today, the sturdy 82-year-old with deep lines on his sun-baked face still makes a living as a scavenger in this remote Chinese town of 460,000 people on the edge of the Gobi Desert. And he is still bringing home children — 42 in all, at last count.
The reporter, Ching-Ching Ni, wrote one of my favorite stories ever, about the Tibetan Wild Yak Brigade. She has a gift for making what is extraordinary in "ordinary" peoples' lives come alive.

If you can't access this story behind the Great Firewall, let me know, and I'll be happy to email it to you.

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