Wang Rongrong– is a 20 year-old young woman from an illiterate farming family. Since a young age, she has wanted to become an artist. Her bone infection, which has stayed with her since her infancy, has allowed her to avoid working in the fields and to receive an education. But now it keeps her from her future because of its incurable chronic symptoms. Forced to face difficult choices, she has nevertheless persevered in her studies. She awaits the results of her college entrance exam, which she hopes to be her ticket to art school.
“You must face reality and still look to a better tomorrow. There's a bright side to everything. If you have hope, everything will work out fine.”
– Wang Rongrong
Yuan Guihua– Yuan Guihua is a 70 year-old farm worker and the grandmother of Wang Rongrong. She has been gradually losing her vision for five-and-a-half years due to cataracts. She has lived most of her life in a cave cut into a hill, where she managed to raise five children on her own on bound feet. She worries for her granddaughter and her own future as her vision weakens.
“I don't like to talk about the past because it makes me sad. My life has been so difficult. All I can do is just keep living it.”
– Yuan Guihua
Li Juncheng– is a bright 10 year-old boy who has not been able to see since the age of 1, when an untreated illness gradually deprived him of his sight. His parents are farmers. They live in an area where they must hike to get their water and they subsist off 2 to 4 small barrels of water weekly. Li Juncheng hopes to become a truck driver one day. He enjoys singing and has learned songs on his own by listening to the TV. The closest special education school is a 7 hour bus-ride away.
“I want to do something and drive people. But I can't see. Even if I can't see, I'm still going to drive.”
– Juncheng
“We can't do anything on our own. We survive on what we grow. This is our life.”
– Juncheng's parents
Dr. Zhang– Dr. Zhang heads the private eye clinic he founded, Huiming Eye, in Ningxia’s capital city of Yinchuan. He has given up a more lucrative life in the big city and has returned to his roots to run a mobile eye clinic to service surrounding poverty-stricken counties and villages, where he provides free eye consultations to the local farmers. Severely in debt however, and facing eviction with nowhere to go, he maintains his passion for his work as pressures mount and his wife is pushed to a breaking point.
“The work I've been doing is enabling me to look at life differently…Through hard work, I've come to a deeper understanding of life. It's an abundance that can't be measured on the same level as monetary wealth. I think what I've gained is far greater than what I've given up.”
– Dr. Zhang

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