Yet the cost of the piano - at 22,550 yuan ($3,500) - was a big sum for the family. His wife suffered from backbone problems for years and Wu`s salary at the rural credit cooperative could only cover the basic expenses of food and medicine for the whole family.
To make more money to support the family, Wu decided to pick up recyclable waste after work in the early 1990s."It was a hard decision because there were lots of prejudices toward waste recyclers at that time," he said. "Most people thought that collecting recyclable stuff from the dustbins was shameful." 为了多挣些钱养家，吴政从上世纪90年代初就决定利用业余时间捡破烂。“这是个艰难的决定，因为当时人们对拾荒者持有偏见。”他说，“大多数人觉得从垃圾桶里捡破烂是件丢脸的事。”
To avoid being identified by his acquaintances, Wu wore a mask and a pair of dark glasses at first. "It felt like I was committing some wrongdoings when I started to search for recyclable waste in the street," he said. "The most worrying thing for me was being identified by my colleagues."
"Sometimes I had to wait for more than half an hour until they finished their drinking and left the bottles for me," he said. “
"Some young men would rather break the glass bottles in front of me on purpose, and it felt like breaking my heart," he said. “
He was also moved sometimes when the others gave him some plastic bottles "in a respectful manner".
He had to travel around the city twice every day for more than 10 kilometers to find as much stuff as possible.
Since Wu has fulfilled the dream of buying his wife a piano, he does not go out to pick up waste any more, though he still keeps the habit of saving his family`s recyclable waste.
"There are no differences between so-called noble or humble jobs," said Wu Yuanhong, the couple`s 36-year-old daughter, adding that she felt proud of her parents. “
"People deserve to be respected if they are dedicated to their dreams and don`t rely on others." For Xie, the piano was a surprising gift - she had never played the piano before and she is trying hard to study how to play. “