Two orphan brothers living in China’s Hubei province broke the internet’s hearts when their story of going through Singles’ Day with just 15 potatoes spread online.
The siblings, Ronghai and Guangxin, were completely orphaned when their 37-year-old mother died of cancer in July. Since then, the two have only had each other to hold on to.
Ronghai shared that their father, who was a miner, died in 2011 after suffering from lung disease. He was 34 years old.
While his father mined, their mother cooked for the workers at the site. They lived in a temporary shed.
The 16-year-old remembered (via Zaker):
“I remember how my dad’s face was always covered in mud and his nose full of small stones when he would return home. In 2007, when I was in first grade, my little brother was born inside the shed.”
Their mother eventually remarried a man surnamed Chen, who became their stepfather. One year later, the new couple welcomed a daughter into the family.
Ronghai admitted to struggling:
“I didn’t like to talk much after my dad died. I called him ‘uncle’ because I couldn’t quite accept him. But, my little brother called him ‘dad,’ and changed his family name to ‘Chen.'”
But things took a turn for the worse when Ronghai was in sixth grade and their mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“I had to drop out of school. Sadly, she passed away last July, she was only 37. My step-father couldn’t afford to raise my little brother and I. After burying mom, my brother and I moved back to our old home.”
The rest of their story is yet to be told. Ronghai plans to get a job, while 9-year-old Guangxin hopes to grow up more quickly and work.
While many households in China took the liberty to splurge on Singles’ Day, the two were left with just 15 potatoes, oil and salt, Shanghaiist said.