My Grandmother’s Journey

Carisa Eng, 5th Grade

I would honor my grandmother with a gold medal. Instead of swimming for a medal like in the Summer Olympics, she swam for her freedom.

When my grandmother was a child living in China during the Cultural Revolution, the government did not want the people to learn or to think for themselves.

The government would not allow children to go to school. They wanted everyone to listen to them, and not do what they thought was right. The government would kill educated people who disagreed with them, such as doctors and teachers.

My grandmother was angry that she could not learn or have her own life.

When she was twenty years old, my grandmother decided to escape from China. She embarked on a dangerous journey. She climbed mountains and swam from southern Guangdong province to Hong Kong. Eventually, my grandmother immigrated to America.

My grandmother went to school in America, even though she did not have strong English skills. She was eager to learn. My grandmother later taught high school students from different backgrounds in New York City.

I would give this medal to my grandmother because she risked her life to leave China to seek her education and freedom. She did what she thought was right and did not allow the Communist government to take away her desire to learn.

My grandmother taught me how important it is to have an education. I am very lucky to live here in America, where the United States government encourages people to go to school, learn new things, and to think for themselves.

I think my grandmother was very brave to try to escape from China. There would be guards on patrol along the Chinese border watching people day and night. The guards also patrolled the mountains and the Chinese border with large guard dogs. If my grandmother was not careful in the dark, she could fall into a mountain ravine or get attacked or caught by guards with their large dogs. Many people also tried to escape from China but did not succeed. They were usually put in jail or died during their journey.

On the gold medal the words would read, “For My Grandmother, Who Swam for her Freedom.” On the gold medal there would be a mountain with the moon above it, and a few stars in the sky. Below the mountain, there would be an ocean with a person swimming through the water. The moon and stars above the mountain represent my grandmother’s hope in her heart during her journey towards a new life. The person swimming represents my grandmother’s quest for her freedom to think, to believe and to learn.