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Published: November 16th 2014
8 Days with Shu Fey- Feng Du, China
We leave our ship and walk over the long pontoon gangway to our bus on the shore. We are off to visit a farmer who was living in the Wu Gorge of the Yangtze River before it was flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. We visited his new home (now 10 years old). This home is 5000 sq. feet, 3 stories and concrete. He got money from the government for new home but it wasn’t enough for the home he wanted for the 5 of them so he borrowed from friends. He was able to pay off the loans the next year. In his old home which was mostly mud, he raised his 3 children. They all went to university and two are now officials in the government. He loves his new home and is so thankful he does not have to worry about tiles blowing off his roof or the clay walls and floors dissolving from the wind and rain. But, even with the house being new, it was not well kept; it was basic concrete color, shutters instead of windows
Private School, Feng Du, China
and a wooden front door. He does not have heat, which is the case in apartment buildings all over China. They just put on more clothes. But… it was a very large with three bathrooms (with Chinese style “squat” toilets, 7 bedrooms, a kitchen with a small wood stove and a “brazier” for cooking. Potatoes were piled in a corner and there was minimal storage space so things were just in piles around the room. The house was very dark with very little lighting. What light he has comes through the openings where we would have glass windows. In one room he has bamboo for hanging clothes to dry. There is also a roof top garden. He was so happy and proud to show us around his house. He is still a farmer, but is now farming farther up the mountain side about 100 meters higher than where he used to live because of the rising wager due to the dam. It is somewhat tropical around his house on the hillside with bananas, and terraced. He also has a road into town now so he doesn’t have to walk miles of mountain paths to get there. A bus stops on
the road and takes him to town. His wife also rides the bus to the other side of the river where she watches her grandson while his parents work. Her grandson lives in an apartment in an 8 story building. No elevator, no heat. She carries the 2 year old up and down the stairs 3 times a day to go shopping, the park and to visit friends.
We boarded our bus and headed down the hill and back along the river to Feng Du. After leaving the bus we headed up a narrow street with laundry drying over our heads and people walking to shopping or visiting friends. As we continued to climb the stone street, we began to hear children laughing up ahead. We passed a high wall on our right painted with Mickey Mouse and Goofy ;-) In Chinese it said it was a kindergarten! We went around the wall and into a small yard. As we looked up, old 6-8 story buildings surrounded us. There were three large openings in the yard going into the building. We headed for the last opening and found that it was a kindergarten classroom with kids laughing,
Kindergarten, Fend Du China
playing and coloring at tables. One little boy ran out and threw his arms around the legs of a man in our group. The man was quite surprised and delighted ;-) There were about 30 children in a room without doors. One side going into the yard we had come through and the other side open to a small playground in the middle of tall apartment buildings. There was fake grass on the playground, plastic playground equipment like you’d see in the States and a little building in the corner with material for the doors, which was the boys and girls bathroom. Some of the children were in two classrooms while other were on the playground. All together there were about 90 children. Everyone was hyper having about 40 Americans come to visit!
Jean started taking pictures of the children and showing them their pictures. Once they understood what was happening, they wanted to pose with their friends and see themselves in the camera. They were laughing, smiling and giggling ;-) Cope was laughing and playing ball with them
What an amazing experience this turned out to be! These young Chinese children were so
Seniors Playing Cards
Visiting and playing cards with friends
enthusiastic and so excited to see us-their energy was just contagious and we got so much from them.
One of their teachers (dressed in black boots, black nylons, black short, shorts and a cute top) told them to all line up in rows. She turned on a boom box and they danced and sang for us with hip modern music.
We peaked in to the last classroom which was set up with tiny pink “hello kitty” beds with pink quilts on them. This is a private school and some of the children sleep over and stay all week and then go home for the weekends as the parents cannot take them back and forth every day. The teachers were all very friendly, interacted easily with the children and were fully engaged with them. What an amazing thing to get to do.
After our tour of the school, we walked down the narrow steep streets to the local market, which was full of people shopping, eating from street vendors and amazingly, saw a dentist pulling a tooth of a patient right there in the street! Ouch! Lots and lots noise as people chatted and visited. Many seniors out on the streets, playing mahjong and cards.
Back to our home on the river…. Coming up: Heavenly Stream
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