Tuesday, 22 July 2014

阿里怕-Mother of 19

As a final essay for Chinese Culture class I wrote about the Chinese viewpoint on the adoption of children. As I was researching this topic I came across one story in particular that made a strong impression on me. This is the story of a woman in Xinjiang, China who along with her husband raised 19 children from different ethnic minorities along with 6 she had by birth.

The type of sacrifice she and her husband must have made astonishes me especially since they come from a culture with a clear distinction between who is family and who are the others. Her children and extended kin as of 2008 consisted of 180 people.  This couple though poor raised more children than an average home daycare and it made me wonder why.
This lady gave most of her youth, and all of her energy to creating a family and this husband, who is hardly mentioned, gave all of his income to support them. I think it’s amazing that we have people all over the world who by doing the little things like, feeding a crying child, working extra hours and digging for herbs have such a vast influence when all is accounted for.
I translated the story myself since it’s not a famous one and is hard to find information about even on baidu (the Chinese web). Her English name is just a translation of the Chinese pinyin and I included her last name being the first character at the front. I’ve stuck close to the literal translation with a few changes here and there since I found some of the language to be a bit embellished when there was none needed, the bolded characters are names. 
                             阿里帕 -阿力马 (维吾尔族)
In 1963 Alipa with her Husband Abipao were already the parents of 6 children. Ahbipao worked in the public security department and was the sole provider of the family with his wage of 45 yuan a month. There family life was cheerful and happy, but one day during winter their neighbours who were of the Kazakh ethnic minority suddenly passed away living three children under the age of 10.
Seeing these children left alone with no one to provide for them Alipa took them up and carried them home. Today 53 year-old Tuohuti memories of being 8 and being taken home to Alipa’s house remain fresh in his mind. Within the following ten years Alipa continually took in and raised orphaned children of all different minorities, at this time her family consists of 19 children.
In order to support the family the husband Abibao every day after work went straight to other villager’s homes in order to work part-time digging the land, Alipa meanwhile everyday went to the food market collecting the produce no one else wanted. Even though their home had two cows, that must would loath to give up because of the milk they offered, both cows were sold to pay for the children’s education, and provide them with basic necessities.
Even though they were poor, every child received the benefit of a loving home. In talking of her adopted children Alipa says they are in a way closer to me then my own children. They’re not my own flesh, but all are my children. In her home water runs deeper than blood.  

In order to provide 3 meals a day for more than 20 mouths, Alipa bought a giant iron cooking pot, 1.2 meters in diameter, for the express purpose of making meals. Most of the houses income was put towards providing meals and if in the summer there wasn’t enough grain Alipa would dig the earth for herbs, in autumn she would go out and gather wheat, and potatoes.  Life continued on in this way, with ends meeting but just barely for a number of years. To provide more money for the children’s schooling and clothing, Abipao continued working extra hours digging the land, and Alipa found a job with the village food factory cleaning sheep stomachs and goat intestines.  

Alipa and Abipao’s goal wasn’t to just make sure the children were well-feed but that they could study as well. Their home didn’t have electricity so Alipa would take old pieces of cotton wad and roll it with her fingers into strips, and then these small strips were used as a wick for the oil lamps. It was by the light of these oil lamps all 19 children studied for, and completed, elementary and high school. Not one child because of poverty dropped out of school. 
It’s because of Alipa’s willingness to face many hardships to raise her extraordinary family that her children learned from a young age what is most valuable., they learned to love each other and show concern and care. It was through the ability to bear much that Ahlipa cared for all 19 children who slowly grew into adults, now every Spring Festival and holiday are the happiest of times, because it’s at this time the whole family small and large get to be with one another.


阿里帕·阿力马洪(维吾尔族) 母爱最真, http://www.12371.cn/2013/08/22/ARTI1377164160017886.shtml  



  1. Thanks for sharing this story.
    I've been enjoying that you've been updating your blog more recently.
    Welcome home :)

  2. Thanks, I'm glad to be back :)