The joy of helping others

Updated: 2012-08-01 11:15

By Zhao Ruixue in Jinan (China Daily)

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Xie Guojiang has helped more than 3,200 poor children in the last 18 years.

But the 37-year-old says he is the one who benefits the most from the whole experience.

"You can't imagine how happy I am whenever I see smiles on the faces of the kids," says Xie, a soldier.


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He was put into the media spotlight after he saved six people from a 6-meter deep reservoir recently.

The day started off well with Xie enjoying one of his rare holidays with his wife and 5-year-old son in a suburb of Jinan, Shandong province. As the family was about to pack their things to head home, Xie heard shouts for help from a reservoir some 60 meters away. He rushed toward the voices and found six tourists in the water, with their faulty boat nearby.

Without thinking, Xie jumped into the water and pushed a small boat toward the six people. One by one, he rescued the tourists, including two children, and put them on the boat.

But Xie had to be hospitalized after the incident as the polluted reservoir water infected both his digestive and respiratory organs.

Dozens of people - friends and strangers - visited him at the hospital and filled his ward with flowers.

Among his visitors is Wu Guansheng, an acquaintance he met 17 years ago, in a hospital. Xie was then in his second year in the army in Shandong's Linyi city. He was hospitalized in the same ward as Wu's father who was diagnosed with end stage lymphatic cancer.

Wu's father passed away after a few days and Wu's disabled mother had to remove Wu and his younger sister from school due to the family's poor financial situation.

Learning about the situation reminded Xie of his own plight. Born to a farmer's family in Rugao, Jiangsu province, Xie did not go to school because of poverty.

"But in the 1990s, the situation was different from the one when I was a boy. Society was powered by knowledge. Only knowledge can elevate farmers' children from poverty," Xie says.

He volunteered to contact the local government to help the Wu's, while he himself sent allowances to the family so that the children would be able to continue their studies.

"Besides money, Xie wrote to us every month to encourage us," Wu says.

Wu managed to finish his secondary education at a technical school and has been working at a local company in Linyi since. "Seeing children like Wu, who is now able to stand on his own feet and contribute to the country, is my greatest joy," Xie says.

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