NANNING - With tears in her eyes, Que Bamei hugs her sister who has lost contact for 79 years. Both are separated amid the chaos that occurred during the Japanese invasion of China.
Que, who is 87 years old, was born into a large family in Qinzhou in the southern autonomous region of Guangxi Zhuang, China. When the Japanese invaded Qinzhou in 1939, an eight-year-old Que was separated from his eight siblings and followed other family members to flee to nearby Guangdong Province.
He was later adopted by a family in Zhanjiang, Guangdong, and never returned to his hometown or met with other families since then.
A few decades later, Que's memories of his hometown faded away with blurred images one of which was "a large courtyard with a pond in front, next to the pool is the tomb of the grandfather."
Even so, Que's desire to go back to his hometown and meet his siblings persists and grows stronger as time passes.
The Straits Times reported on February 10 that Que had undergone surgery to remove gallstones and often spoke of her desire to return to her hometown. Ms. Huang Guangpeng, a 33-year-old grandson of Que, decided to help her fulfill her wishes.
An illiterate Que, unsure of the character used in his family name and originally called it the "Ji" character. But the volunteers were informed that no one with the surname was in the area.
After searching for a while, the volunteers found a family with the name "Que", which has a pronunciation similar to "Ji" according to the local dialect.
The volunteers investigated further and confirmed that Que was born in Dashigu Village, Shabu City, Qinnan District. His father, Que Mingguang, an officer, was killed in the battle for China and his five brothers lost in the war.
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Three Que's sisters married in Qinzhou, and two of them have died. But her stepbrother, Que Qijie is alive.
Before meeting directly, the brothers talked through the video. With tears unraveling they promise to meet as soon as possible.
On March 29, accompanied by her children, Que Bamei arrived in Dashigu village after a four-hour drive from home. After going through the bamboo forest, the gardens and old houses have changed a lot, childhood memories come back, and Que Bamei's eyes are flushed with tears.
Wanting to see her sister again, Que Qijie had been waiting in front of her home long before Que Bamei's arrival.
When Que Bamei arrived, the neighbors lit firecrackers to greet him. The two sisters hugged each other and cried for a long time without saying a word.
"Finally I can meet again," Que Bamei told his brother in the Qinzhou dialect. They stayed together that day and talked late at night.
"Thanks to the convenience offered by the Internet and the efforts of the volunteers, my grandmother and sister now have less remorse in their lives," said Huang Guangpeng.
Huang said his grandmother was a quiet person but became more frequent after the meeting. Que tells all the stories of his childhood and the family history he learned from Que Qijie.
The brothers planned to meet again soon.