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Postal worker delivers better lives

2024-06-07 10:57:28 Source: China Daily By Yang Feiyue
Postal worker delivers better lives
Lhalung Dorje delivers a college admission notice to a student in Ruo'ergai county in Sichuan province. [Photo / China Daily]
National May 1 Labor Medal winner goes above and beyond to overcome obstacles, committing to the development of his hometown, Yang Feiyue reports.
Lhalung Dorje, a 17-year China Post staff member in his hometown Ruo'ergai county in Sichuan province, has not only overcome the demanding conditions of the plateau over the years to deliver to residents, but also helped promote the area's produce via livestreaming.
He recently drove five hours from his hometown to Wenchuan county in the northwest of the province to sell cherries.
"It's the season for local cherries and I go there at this time each year to help promote their sales through livestreaming, "says the 40-year-old man.
During preparations for the broadcasts, he is a man of few words who appears to be a bit reserved when meeting strangers.
Yet, once the camera rolls, he is charged with the energy to vigorously explain the details of the local specialty.
The five-hour drive late last month didn't seem to deter his enthusiasm. "I'm used to being on the road, "he says.
Years of delivering packages across the county and interactions with the residents have given him a deep understanding of the local produce and knowledge to find high-quality products at affordable prices.
In March 2021, he started his first livestreaming sales event, selling dried yak meat, milk powder, local pickled vegetables, dried mushrooms, buckwheat noodles and fruits.
"I tried to help my fellow villagers in pastoral areas sell their high-quality products so they can receive extra income, "he says.
To date, he has broadcast about 10 livestreaming sessions, with sales reaching approximately 4 million yuan($552, 000).
Yet, Lhalung Dorje's main responsibility still lies with his postal service.
Ruo'ergai sits in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture on the northeastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
The special geographical conditions make for stunning landscapes, yet pose challenges for travelers, especially postal service workers like Lhalung Dorje.
His routine routes are on average 3, 500 meters above sea level and run more than 100 kilometers in their entirety through pastoral and forest areas that are full of hazards.
To date, he has covered more than 500, 000 km and delivered more than 5 million documents and packages, without a miss.
His dedication to the industry has won him numerous awards, including the National May 1 Labor Medal in 2021, one of the most prestigious awards for working people in China.
Influenced by his father, who also worked as a postal delivery man, Lhalung Dorje considers it a huge honor to live up to his responsibilities.
"I felt like my father was a hero, wearing the uniform, carrying his bag and traversing the mountains and valleys, "he recalls.
He remembers loving to sit on the front of the bike as a child and feeling the warmth of his father behind him, even during the wintertime.
The sight of the villagers sharing joy with his father when receiving their letters and packages has long been etched in his mind.
In 2007, Lhalung Dorje followed in his father's tracks.
"He told me on the first day that now that I had made my choice, I had to see it through, "Lhalung Dorje says.
Postal worker delivers better lives
Lhalung Dorje in his van. He has covered more than 500, 000 kilometers and delivered more than 5 million posts in the past 17 years. [Photo/ China Daily]
One of the hardest routes runs through five villages and includes about 12, 000 people of the Tibetan, Hui, Qiang and Yi ethnic groups. It used to be part of the Long March(1934-36)by the Red Army and is full of revolutionary marks.
The high altitude is a hotbed for fickle weather while the complex plateau landforms make things all the more difficult for Lhalung Dorje.
He has had many close calls over the years as he has often encountered blizzards, mudslides, landslides and rockfalls.
The worst one happened in March 2018.
"It was spring but the temperature still lingered around zero and dropped to dozens of degrees below zero at midnight, "he recalls.
"I was on my way home and suddenly a blizzard hit and the postal van slipped into a deep pit at the side of the road, causing the oil pipe to leak and freeze, "he adds.
There was no cellphone signal, so he couldn't call for help.
"I had to rely on my experience to crawl under the van for repairs. I worked on repairing it for a while and then got back into the van to warm up. I must have done it a dozen times or so, "he says, adding that the last time he crawled under the van, his clothes and pants were frozen to the road surface.
However, it didn't work, so he curled up in the driver's cabin, tired, hungry and cold, eventually falling asleep.
His colleague Sun Ping, who came to his rescue, still feels a chill when speaking about the situation.
"When we finally found him, it was already midnight. …He looked as if he had been frozen, covered all over with black oil and his hair stuck together, "Sun recalls.
Those setbacks didn't hold Lhalung Dorje back and he continued on the road soon after.
"My job is ordinary. But within my abilities, there is nothing more meaningful than this, "he says.
The three postal vehicles he previously wore out serve as proof of his commitment, which has also enabled him to witness the significant changes in Ruo'ergai's development.
"In the past, the roads on the grassland were uneven and full of potholes. It took four hours to travel 3 or 4 km. But now it's just a 30-minute round trip, "he says.
Postal worker delivers better lives
He discusses deliveries with his colleague. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Reflecting on his experiences of delivering parcels by motorcycle in the past, Lhalung Dorje has noticed that almost every household now has a vehicle.
The local households'improved living standards are also shown by the increasing number of packages from online orders.
"The period before the Spring Festival is our peak season and we usually handle 4, 000 to 5, 000 parcels daily. It's common to work until 1 or 2 in the morning, "he says, adding that the items are becoming more diverse, including guitars, cosmetics and pet food.
Additionally, he can sense the education level on the rise, as he has delivered more college admission notices in recent years.
His own two daughters were admitted to college a couple of years ago.
"I delivered the notices for them myself, "Lhalung Dorje says with pride.
He has come to see that his bag carries"a better life"for the locals.
Liu Zongpeng, general manager of China Post's operations in Ruo'ergai, says Lhalung Dorje's good deeds have been known to many of the county's residents.
"Most of them call him'brother', "Liu says.
He often works overtime to deliver medicines for the senior residents and keeps shovels and oxygen tanks in the postal vehicles for travelers he meets who might have their car break down or suffer altitude sickness.
"It's not too much to say his service has covered all the local villages(in the county)and serves as a bridge between the local herdsmen and the outside world, "Liu says.
Local herdsman Lokhor still feels indebted to Lhalung Dorje, who helped him sell more than 80 yaks in 2022 when the pandemic cut the county off from the outside.
"It was November and I couldn't go out and the buyers couldn't come in, and the yaks were losing weight, "Lokhor says.
His whole family was counting on the sales of the yaks, with a mortgage to pay and children to feed.
After learning of Lokhor's plight, Lhalung Dorje made inquiries for potential buyers during his work trips and eventually connected him to a local pastoral company.
Lhalung Dorje says he has come to realize there's a lot more he could do as the country's rural vitalization strategy was fully implemented.
He is now in charge of the overall postal service quality across the county, as well as the cooperation agreements with private delivery service providers in the area.
He has also been invited to government organs and institutes of higher learning to give lectures about his experiences of rural development and his work.
To better live up to his responsibilities as a national model worker, Lhalung Dorje has used his spare time to pick up new skills and has finished administrative management studies at the Open University of China.
"I was born and raised here. I love this land very much and I hope to contribute to the development of my hometown, "he says.
Editor:Li Lulu