13 November 2018
Xiong Jianguo (right) and foundling Yan live together on the streets of Nanchang. Photos:
Xiong Jianguo (right) and foundling Yan live together on the streets of Nanchang. Photos:

A child lost and found among Nanchang discards

Life changed for Nanchang waste picker Xiong Jianguo seven years ago when he rummaged through a cardboard box near a rubbish bin.

Among the waste he found one of the most precious things of all — a baby girl. The infant had been discarded but the crying child immediately tugged at his heartstrings, reported over the weekend. He picked up and took her “home”.

“It’s a life, after all,” Xiong said.

He called the girl Yan, meaning colorful, and although his means are meager has tried his best to give the child love and a joyful childhood. He has established a tradition of taking Yan every year on her birthday to a photo studio to capture her through the years. One photo is missing, though — when Yan was four, he didn’t even have enough money for food. 

The pair sleep on the streets of Nanchang, Jiangxi province, under an overpass and although Yan is an extra responsibility for the impoverished man, he has never thought of abandoning her. Others have wanted to adopt the girl but Yan isn’t having anything of it. “My home is where my dad is,” she said.

Yan should be going to school this year but the school gates are closed to her because she doesn’t have local household registration, and Xiong has not officially adopted the child.

“I hope she can be a good person and a useful member of society,” he said.

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Xiong never thinks of giving up the child he found seven years ago.

Xiong hopes Yan can grow up to be a good person.

The pair call the space under an overpass their home.

Each year Xiong takes Yan to a photo studio to have a birthday porttrait.

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