China is often praised for its excellence in education. Its improvements over the past decades are nothing to look down on; in fact, adult literacy has risen from the 1980s 65% to today's 96%. Moreover, compared to the data in the 1980s, 20% more students go on to attend high school.
On a recent trip, the Xiaohusai team had the opportunity to speak with the only teacher in the village. On the verge of tears, she said, “The environment here is very harsh and the people here endure so much hardship…When I first arrived, [the villagers] said, ‘our school in the village has been without a professional teacher for 10 years and we are very lucky to have you.’”
The world is going through harsh times due to COVID-19, whether that be politically, economically, or even on smaller more personal levels. Everyone is doing their best to keep their friends and families safe—even in a village as secluded as Xiaohusai. “The coronavirus has definitely had an impact on our daily lives. Business-wise, tea prices have fallen, and we can't sell all of our tea,” said Zhang Ruihong, the father of one of our scholarship recipients. For many farmers, their only means of supporting their family has been crippled.
If someone asked you, “what country consumes the most tea?” Some obvious answers you may think of are China, or the United Kingdom. But what about Paraguay? As of 2017 Paraguay consumes 12.22kg of tea per capita per year while China doesn’t even make it into the top twenty, consuming only 0.92kg per capita. But this is still a lot of tea, about two ounces of tea leaves can brew up to thirty servings which means that the average Chinese citizen consumes about 525 servings of tea each year and the average person in Paraguay consumes about 6,300 servings of tea each year. That’s 17 servings of tea each day!