The postman who always delivers

Updated: Nov 16, 2022 By Yang Feiyue and Zhu Youfang CHINA DAILY Print
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He climbs a precipitous mountain path to ensure the post is delivered. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Liu Yuanhong from Shuitian village in the mountain suffers from epilepsy and is unable to work. His parents are in their 80s, and the pressure of life had made him pretty desperate. After Du learned about Liu's conditions, he dug into his own pocket to buy daily necessities and epilepsy medicine and delivered them to his home. Du also collected information on how to treat epilepsy and shared it with Liu.

Through nearly two years of treatment, Liu's condition has greatly improved.

"If I hadn't met Du, I could have died on several occasions," Liu says.

Du also took the initiative to clean a local nursing home, where more than 30 elderly people resided, during his newspaper delivery to the facility. In addition, he often purchased cooking oil and rice for them.

Du's acts of kindness and generosity have not only endeared him to the mountain villagers but also earned their trust and respect. Many locals have come to see him as a pillar of strength in their lives.

"It kind of makes you persist and reluctant to give up and just leave," Du says.

Although his salary is not much, he has generously lent a helping hand to some villagers to get through difficult situations on his way to deliver the mail.

In 2015, Du was named a "Touching China" role model for Hunan by the provincial government.

To his relief, things have been picking up in recent years, as the country has managed to realize its poverty eradication plan and is pushing for rural vitalization strategy and overall promotion of new rural construction.

"Road construction (in parts of Shimen county) started in 2017 and 2018," Du recalls.

To date, well-paved roads have been built to connect most of the villages off the beaten tracks in Shimen county. For those who lived too deep in the woods, they have been relocated to places with easy access to public transportation.

"Many of them have moved into nice apartments now," Du says.

He himself has benefited from the positive changes taking place in the rural areas.

"I don't have to walk all my way to their places anymore," he says.

His old transportation, the bike, has also become history.

"We postmen now all drive our own cars at work and then have the expenses reimbursed by the company," he says.

"Everything is so much easier now, and I can finish all the daily assigned delivery and make it back home."

As local life gets better, Du has a new responsibility now.

He buys goods at the request of the villagers, such as rice and cooking oil.

Although Du is on the home stretch of retirement, he says: "If villagers need me, I will keep delivering for them."

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