Jia Haixa, 54, is blind. His friend, Jia Wenqi, 53, is a double amputee missing both of his arms. The men are from China’s Yeli Village in Sunzhuang Township, and for over ten years they have been combining their abilities to transform what was once a barren landscape around their village into a thriving forest, one planted tree at a time.
The two Jais have known one another since they were young children. Wenqi, who lost his arms at the age of three after receiving a high voltage shock from an unprotected electric cable, uses his feet to perform the tasks able-bodied individuals rely on their hands for. He has been working in the forestry industry since 1976, when he finished school. It was Jaixa, completely blind since 2000, who first suggested the two begin planting trees together to help support their families. 10,000 trees later, the tandem have inspired millions worldwide with their viral story and become an ecological power couple in the process.
Story by Jay Moon