Every time Zhang Aisa goes to the market, he can sell slabs of meat up for sale.
“It is not difficult to buy meat in the market,” he said. “There are a lot of butchers providing meat for people. But for my family, it is difficult. We cannot afford it.”
Zhang Aisa lives in a village in Gansu province in central China. The 45-year-old works as a farmer, but his land is often affected by drought and his life as a farmer is difficult.
“My sources of income are mainly from breeding sheep and from my son’s salary,” he said. “He works in a restaurant as a waiter earning 1,000 Yuan (about GBP £100, or USD $150) and sends 600 Yuan for us to support the family. We do not have the money to eat meat.”
“If we have a good harvest, we will have sufficient food, but we are dependent on the rain and it does not always come. My family thinks meat is the most delicious food on Earth, but in the poor and mountainous area where our village is, we do not have much food to eat, let alone meat.
Zhang Aisa, 45, lives with his wife and two teenage children in a house that was built with the help of the local government. He had to invest 13,000 Yuan and the local government gave another 9,000 Yuan. He borrowed another 4,000 Yuan from his brother.
“Now we have a place to resist the wind and the rain,” he said. “But life is hard because my son is studying at high school and I also have to pay for his tuition fee. I have back problems and I cannot do any hard physical labour. All the field work must be done by my wife.”
Last year, Islamic Relief donors helped us distribute Qurbani food packs to 1,100 families in China, and the Zhang family was one of those who received 5kg of meat.
“Ramadan and Qurbani are the most important holy days,” Zhang Aisa said.
“We look forward to this festival. We dress cleanly and pray at the mosque, and then we can taste some meat. We should slaughter a sheep but we cannot afford it. I have not slaughtered even a chicken for several years and it upsets me that I cannot.
“The meat parcel from Islamic Relief will last us for several months as we only have a bit at a time. We do not have a refrigerator so my wife boils it and salts it, so it can be stored.
“My son is studying hard at school, and the beef can make him strong and help him. If he can enter university, all our work will be worthwhile.”
The Zhang family is working hard to create a better life for themselves. Stand alongside them this Qurbani by reaching out to them with Islamic Relief.