吉姆 JIM HOFMAN | Photography Faces & places in China

Wendy

Yesterday we spent some time with Wendy, who works for one of our China factories.  She is wise beyond her years (24).  Wendy graduated from Guangzhou English Technical University about a year ago and speaks amazing English.  For nearly two hours she shared her visions of happiness and her future goals in life – to either start her own company or get married and have two children. Wendy told us that her image of marriage in the US comes from watching Desperate Housewives on the internet (ouch!). She is ecology-minded, to the point of not using the air conditioner in her dorm room to help conserve power (it was 100 degrees here two days ago). To Wendy, living a simple life will bring you happiness.  Like most Chinese people her age, she’s dealing with the paradox of having big ambitions to travel the world, but not having the money or ability to get a visa.

The more interesting conversation revolved around families.  She challenged us to guess how many brothers & sisters she had in her family.  That’s usually a simple task in China because of the government guidelines regarding childbirth.  It’s “one per customer” unless you live in a rural area.  Then you’re allowed two to help with the farm.  Wendy said there were SEVEN kids in her family because her parents wanted 2 boys.  The first born was a boy, but then they were blessed with a string of five girls.  Number seven was finally a boy.  All of the kids were born at home to avoid hospital records.  Wendy still has a memory of fleeing from the house with all of her siblings (and the family cow) to hide in the hills when a government official came to the house one time.  If they were caught with more than the allotted number of kids they would have to pay significant fines and their family could lose all of their possessions.  A wild story. As I listened to her tale I was envisioning the Von Trapp family escaping to the Alps – with a cow.

Update: 11/18/11 – I saw Wendy again today. I was photographing a group of products that her company manufactures using a make-shift, natural light studio. When I was done I asked Wendy to sit for a formal portrait to send her family. I think it turned out nice considering there were no studio lights available.  Wendy had worked all night supervising the loading of two containers of products. She went to bed at 6am, slept for four hours, then woke up to see me.  Not an easy life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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