Jeanhee Kang finds abundance in Mississippi

This article has been added to our testimony page with the permission of MCL: The article was written by Katie Eubanks and published By Mississippi Christian Living on May 1, 2019

She would’ve done just about anything for a bowl of rice.

As a little girl in rural South Korea, Jeanhee Kang only got her own bowl of rice on her birthday and New Year’s Day. Her family grew rice, but they had to trade it for other necessities in order to survive.

“Little things my mom would make, there was exactly (enough). There was nothing left,” Jeanhee says.

One day Jeanhee’s school held a field day and she won the 100-meter dash. To her shock, her father showed up and was proud. This was the only time he had touched her gently.

“My dream as a child was … I’d like to go somewhere and eat all that I can eat, white steamy rice.” Instead, she spent her days in constant hunger, planting crops behind her mother.

According to rumor, the local dam keeper got to eat white rice three times a day. He also lived in a house with windows and had the only telephone in the village. He controlled the water gates for the rice patties.

“My mom told me he went to high school in the city to get that job,” Jeanhee says.

One day she knocked on the dam keeper’s door and asked to see his telephone. He let her watch him talk on the phone, gave her a morsel of white rice wrapped in seaweed, and sent her home.

After a year of begging her mother, Jeanhee started school at age 6. She wanted to live like the dam keeper one day, and she wanted to go to “high school” like him. (She used the term to refer to the entire breadth of her education.)

One day Jeanhee’s school held a field day and she won the 100-meter dash. To her shock, her father showed up and was proud. This was the only time he had touched her gently.

Ten years later, Jeanhee got pregnant and had an abortion.

Her all-girls school kicked her out. No matchmaker would ever bring her a husband. And her family wouldn’t be able to salvage their reputation unless she left. Or died.

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