Jia Wenqi (left) and Jia Haixia
In July 2016, 10,000 trees that two handicapped partners in rural Hebei province had cultivated for 16 years were devastated by a flood, causing the duo to lose tens of thousands of RMB. For a time, the two were near desperation, but they have gradually moved on and decided to start over.
Jia Haixia and Jia Wenqi are both 53. Jiu Haixia is blind in both eyes, while Jia Wenqi is a double amputee. Nevertheless, they have created a unique way of working together, managing to overcome their respective disabilities by becoming each other's eyes and hands.
The Ye River, which destroyed their trees in 2016.
Without money to buy saplings, the two men had to collect cuttings, which required Jia Haixia to scale large trees. Without the use of his eyes, he was guided up the trunks by his armless companion. Back on solid ground, he would create a hole and plant the shoot, after which it became Jia Wenqi's job to water the saplings.
Their efforts have been praised around the province and even the country. They were recognized as a national model for greening, and even reported on by foreign media outlets such as CNN. But today, the duo have a mixed feelings about their future. Deep in their minds, they are just two farmers who have no alternative but to earn a living by planting trees.
This photo taken in 2015 shows the brothers taking a break in front of their trees.
To support their plan of planting trees in the mountains, a website in China offered to fund the construction of a water tower to store and supply water, but no electricity was available to draw water up to the mountains. The water tower is now abandoned, after it was completed near one year ago.