The woman photographed seems very delighted to read a letter from her daughter.
She is Jong Yon Ok who lives in neighborhood unit No. 11, Ryusa-dong No. 1, Hanggu District, Nampho. Her daughter, Ji Ye, is now studying at Nampho Revolutionary School.
“Mum, I studied and had fun with friends today, too. … I send you a kiss. …,” her daughter wrote in her first letter.
The letter from Ji Ye who was not yet seven was no more than a half page long but it gave enormous pleasure to Jong.
In 2016, a violent storm and torrential rain hit the northern area of the DPRK causing widespread devastation.
At that time, some school teachers in Hoeryong City, North Hamgyong Province, died while helping their fellow citizens. Among them were the parents of Ji Ye.
Jong, who went to the stricken area to deliver relief supplies, came back with the parentless four-year-old girl in her arms on instinct.
However, she had to overcome many difficulties raising Ji Ye as her own child.
After losing her parents and home all at once, Ji Ye remained reluctant to open her heart to everyone. Moreover, the life in the unfamiliar place warped her mind.
Once, her spoilt last-born son Song Min who could not sympathize with his parents’ decision disappeared from home on a cold winter day. Also, her husband, who had been delighted to have a cute daughter in the family with only sons and deeply cared for her, rebuked Jong when she scolded Ji Ye for the first time, which led to a “marital dispute”.
But in the end, Ji Ye, who would stubbornly say that she had only one mother, not two, finally called Jong Yon Ok “mum”.
“At that time, I thought that the word ‘mum’ is not only for one’s mother by blood,” said Jong.
Today, all those stories are remembered as happy memories.
It has been four years since Ji Ye entered the revolutionary school.
Jong and her family members hold Ji Ye in abiding affections and miss her very much. And the whole family rejoices whenever they receive a letter from her.