StoryTelling is a project initiated by Melton Fellows to share short stories about people and their personal situations. The project team invites you to view the world through the eyes of our neighbours, creating a sense of emphathy, connection and mutual understanding.

Meng is a beautiful fourth-grader in Baiji.

Here is Meng’s grandmother, a kind older woman who, like other people in Baiji, showed her hospitality and friendliness to me when I approached her for the first time in 2013.

She lost her husband in a car accident and received compensation of 60,000 RMB (about 10,000 US dollars). She has two sons and each one of them took 30,000 RMB to buy a bride from Yunnan province. One of the “bought” wives ran away shortly after the marriage and the other one gave birth to Meng but then left 3 years later. Meng’s father, like most male adults in Baiji, went to work in in the city and Meng was raised by her grandmother.

Luckily, there were several visitors who sponsored Meng financially and would give about 500 RMB (about 60 US dollars) to her annually. She is outgoing and adorable. However, other kids sometimes tease her because she doesn’t have a mother, a hurt reflected in her eyes.