“I am his hands, and he is my eyes” says Jia Haixia, 53, who was born with a cataract in one eye and left completely blind after work-related accident in 2000. He talks of his symbiotic relationship with his long time friend, Jia Wenqi, who lost both arms when he was only 3 years old.
The two men have leased a 7.5 acre stretch of land along the river bank of Yeli Villiage in northeast China, and hope to transform the once-barren landscape by planting 1,000 trees a year.
The pair met in 2001 when they were both struggling to find work due to their disabilities. Neither wanted to give up on life, so they formed a plan to plant trees to make money while also sheltering their community from flooding. Now each morning they rise at 7 A.M. and cut saplings from grown trees to sow and sprout new life.
After years of struggling side by side, the men have learned how to utilize each other in order to overcome their individual disabilities. Together they can navigate the world. They have been planting for over a decade, and the friends estimate that to-date they have planted over 10,000 trees.