“Neighbor’s Happiness Is Our Happiness”

On July 8, the quiet Dureung village at Neungwol-ri, Cheongseong-myeon, Okcheon-gun, Chuncheongbuk-do, where the cry of cicada deepened the shade of trees, became active and lively. It was because over 20 volunteers from the New Life Welfare Foundation visited there to help the farming of an elderly woman Lee Yeong-ja (63) living alone. She had plowed the wide range of the field (2.4 acres) alone. A month ago, while helping neighboring orchard, she fell off the ladder and injured her arm. From that time on, she was not able to do farming.

What the volunteers should do today was to weed the red pepper field and the perilla field, and spray the red pepper with agricultural chemicals. On entering the red pepper field, all were startled; the field that hadn’t been taken care for over a month was filled with weeds taller than the red pepper. We could hardly find the furrows because of the weeds. Even the red pepper trees were bent over by the rain and wind; many red peppers had already dropped. The members wore gloves and began to weed with the hoes they had brought.

In the perilla field, too, weeding started. The perilla had light-violet flower buds. The members carefully weeded in order not to hurt the flower buds.

A volunteer Kim Yeong-mi (43, Tanbang-dong, Seo-gu, Daejeon) who came to help the farmer, though she was not good at farming, said, “I’m reminded of my childhood days when I helped my parents in the field. I’ve keenly felt the value of sweat and toil of farmers and of their products. I wish I can be a help to the elderly farmer who has grown these vegetables like her own children with all her heart.” Another volunteer Baek Seong-ho (46, Gao-dong, Dong-gu, Daejeon) cheerfully said, “It’s worthwhile to work hard and share joy together. I wish all the people to work together with our neighbors in need and make the world a better place to live together.”

In the afternoon, the temperature was 31℃ [87.8℉]. The volunteers were all of a sweat. The water melon, which the elderly farmer brought, relieved their thirst and the heat. Above all, her bright face refreshed them. She had not stopped working in the field, sleeping only two hours a day. With her face full of smile, she said, “I thought about giving up farming. I’m grateful to receive help from the New Life Welfare Foundation at this hard time.”

To erect the fallen red pepper trees, the volunteers set up posts and bound the trees and the posts together with strings. After spraying the trees with agricultural chemicals, all work finished around 5 p.m. The young volunteers wondered how she had been able to do all this work alone in her old age. Leaving her behind, they waved their hands, saying, “Cheer up, please!”