Extraordinary love story, village of 119 wet nurses in rural China

| March 27th, 2011

From: QQ

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It’s an quiet ordinary rural Chinese village where people still live in "cave houses", small dwellings built into the side of hills and mountains. But the women in this small village has been doing something extraordinary for more than half a century and it’s not until few days ago that it finally come to the attention of the whole country.

It’s a small village with no more than 150 families living here. But there are 119 women working as wet nurse in this village nowadays. " From 1968, we start to foster orphans from the nursery for free. Till now, we’ve raised more than 1300 orphans from the nursery." said Wang Ting, the Party branch secretary of the village. According to Wang, to be a wet nurse, a woman need to be healthy, caring for children, educated, financially stable, married and has the experience of looking after children.

The wet nurse is for free but still they can receive a monthly allowance for the children’s living expense. The allowance began with 9 yuan per month and rose to today’s 600 yuan. 60 years ago, the women may still earn some money from the children’s 9 yuan living expense as 9 yuan was relatively a good sum of money back then but now it’s almost impossible to gain any money from raising the orphans. If 60 years ago, the village’s woman raised orphans for an allowance now they carry on the good cause out of love. " Now I don’t want to make money from raising orphans. It’s all about love" said Zhao Jinmei, a wet nurse, "villagers all want to raise orphans. And if abuse is found in a family, the family will be deprived of the right to raise orphans anymore and it would be despised by the whole village."

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2nd, Mar, 2011, after the surgery, Dang Hela (the baby)’s excess fluid accumulation in his brain is reduced and she can say" ma ma(mother) " and some simple words.

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2nd Mar, 2o11, Jia Meilan, the 31 year old is playing with Dang Guohan( with cleft palate) and Dang Guotao (with brain paralysis). There are many young wet nurses like Jia in the village.

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Ma Yufang(Right) has tropia and was sent to Ma Kai( second from left)’s family as foster child when she was only 20 days old. Now she has her own family and her 9 month old son.

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A child is waiting for his wet nurse to pick him up. Everyday, the charity house will pick up the foster children from the village for exercise and training and send them back in the afternoon.

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2nd Mar, 2011, after the snow, Wu Xian, headmaster of the village’s primary school took students to do outdoor activities. The school now has 48 students, half of them are foster children.

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Jin bursted into tears when speaking of his dear foster daughters.

In 34 years, Jin Hegui and his lover has took care of 17 foster children. When Jin’s lover was diagnosed with cervix cancer, their foster daughters suspended their schooling in the university and looked after her. After his lover passed away, one of Jin’s foster children goes home every day from the local charity house where she works after graduation to help Jin with household chores and keep him company.

Love has supported the village to pass on the good cause for more than half century but the economy is developing, there’ll be less and less available labor in the village to foster orphans. How long can the village still have enough wet nurses for the charity house’s orphans is up in the air.

10 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Sammy Jun Bang Chang says:

    What the hell is a “wet nurse”?

    • Lin says:

      Theyre substitutes mothers for mothers who can’t produce breast milk. That’s the general usage of the term, in this article it seems as if they are just semi foster mothers.

      • MF says:

        Yes — I was confused by that too. It’d be nice if they could revise the article to get rid of the mistake. At first I was looking at the picture at the top and wondering how she could still be breastfeeding at her age.

  2. Curren$y says:

    I want some milk toooooooooooo

  3. CC says:

    Women can produce milk into older age as long as they have given birth themselves. It would be the most logical and least expensive way to feed babies. That explains the requirement that the mothers be healthy. Nursing a baby creates a strong motherly bond.

  4. Damaris says:

    Great blog:)
    I have really enjoyed reading this!!

  5. Tam says:

    i dont think the term wet nurse is wrong. in many cultures women keep their milk going as it is reveared and respected. sadly it is not the case in our society.

    like in Mongolia http://www.drmomma.org/2009/07/breastfeeding-in-land-of-genghis-khan.html

  6. Sasha says:

    I don’t think they’ve misused the term. The breasts can continue to make milk for the rest of a woman’s life after she has had a child and breastfed (and actually, it’s even possible to stimulate lactation without giving birth). It’s amazing that these women have all given so much, and for so long. Beautiful.

  7. Abram Tamez says:

    I can’t where it says the name of the Village, the Province, or any location as to where this is?

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