Profile: Visually impaired carpenter crafts new definition of success
NANNING, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Selecting wood, drilling, assembling, polishing...amidst roaring machines, Lu Xiangning completes making a wooden stool in about an hour. The only thing different with the 58-year-old carpenter and his peers is that he is visually impaired.
Lu lives in a small village in Longan County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He lost his eyesight due to illness at the age of three.
When he was a teenager, he began to make bamboo cages and duplicate keys for a living before he became obsessed with wood.
He would visit furniture shops to touch and feel the shape and length of objects, such as beds and chairs, and then tried to make similar things back home. "I just wanted to be a self-dependent person in life," Lu said.
Devoid of visual observation ability, he slowly honed the talent for crafting with the sense of touch through resolute practice. He grew familiar with the categories of wood, and their length and size by simply touching and feeling the materials. He can even recognize inferior quality materials and refuses to use such substandard goods.
Through continuous study and explorations, he succeeded in forging handmade wooden products that were strong and durable. His perseverance and unique ability won him a lot of fame locally. Parents whose children are about to be married would queue up to place orders for furniture.
While other carpenters could sell their stools at a price of less than 2 yuan (about 30 U.S. cents), the wooden stools made by Lu are sold at 6 yuan each due to their fine quality.
There are about 85 million people with disabilities in China.
While the country is set to finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects with no one left behind, the government has guaranteed the basic living demand of people with disabilities.
Apart from his income as a carpenter, Lu enjoys government-paid healthcare, as well as 80 yuan of allowances for the disabled every month. For those hard to support themselves, the government provides more financial help.
Lu has indeed succeeded in his pursuit of becoming an independent man. He is a family man now and owns a four-story house that was built in 2016. The courtyard and kitchen of his house operate as his workshop.
Over the years, he has become familiar with the placement of wood and tools such as chainsaws, and how many steps it takes to get to the workbench.
"Being a carpenter is not only my interest but also a way to make a living," he said. "I am blind, but life still goes on."
Zhou Yuming, Lu's wife, said the entire set of furniture including the wooden sofa in their home was made by her husband. "We don't need to spend a penny on furniture."
According to Lu Huizhong, a community staff, the stools made by Lu are still durable after 10 years while the products from the assembly line may become wobbly in a few years.
"The quality of his products speak volumes of his reputation and respect," Lu Huizhong said. Enditem