Photos: Chinese Embassy in Germany
A pastry shop in a remote alley in Changsha, central China’s Hunan province, has become an online sensation in China recently.
Its owner is a 50-year-old man from Germany, who can speak fluent Mandarin and is an expert in Chinese sign language. The German doesn't even profit from the shop but is still willing to spread love, warmth and persistence by teaching deaf-mute people the skills of baking.
The shop owner gave himself an idiomatic Chinese name, Wu Zhengrong. Wu undertakes tasks like standing by the ovens to take the bread out in time.
"My store is never noisy, but by no means cold,” Wu said.
Workers make pastries
Eighteen years ago, Wu and his wife, Du Xuehui, also a German, came to Changsha to help hearing-impaired children. At that time, Mr. Wu and his wife participated in a German event to help impoverished students in Hunan province.
In the past years, Wu and his wife have helped nearly 500 children speak and go to school. Wu said that although there was some inconvenience at the very beginning, they gradually got used to the life there. Because they think what they are doing is meaningful and they enjoy themselves.
Wu's wife, Du Xuehui, teaches a hearing-impaired child how to speak.
In 2011, it dawned upon Wu that life would be easier for those hearing-impaired if they were trained in a certain field. That was when he developed the idea to open a pastry shop and teach the children how to make western pastries.
"Earn their own life, win their own respect." That is what Wu sincerely believes in. Up to now, they have successfully trained 20 hearing-impaired people into expert pastry makers.
Wu, his wife, and the workers.
"Never give up and always persist," Wu told the journalist. All these years, their income can only meet the costs. They still do not own a house. Sometimes, they are even homesick. However, they have gradually made friends in Changsha, most of whom are their customers.
Wu sings high praise for his wife and their relatives in Germany, who support him.
Attacked by the pandemic, Wu's shop is in the red continuously. However, he never even thinks about redundancy and raising prices, because he worries that it will not be easy for his staff to find a job somewhere else. "All those difficulties didn't defeat me, neither will Covid-19,” Wu said.
A regular customer came up with a slogan for his pastry shop, "Choose your bread here, and leave your love there." In Wu's little shop, pastries go beyond themselves and are endowed with transcendent value and love for hearing-impaired people.
(Compiled by Mei Yibo)