What is it like in Guyuan? <ul><li>Population 200,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Religions : 51% Buddhist?; 48% Islamic; some Christians in approved churches. </li></ul><ul><li>Average yearly income : 2006 = 1800 元 (about £150) </li></ul><ul><li>Main occupations : farming, market gardening: apples, pears, persimmons, potatoes. </li></ul><ul><li>A harmonious but poor society </li></ul>
Or how about this? <ul><li>Carrying the harvest home </li></ul>
And then there’s this: <ul><li>Bicycles and taxis as convenient transport </li></ul>
There’s stunning beauty too: <ul><li>Reaching for the sky </li></ul>In a park right in the centre of the city 在固原公园
Another favourite: <ul><li>Temple steps </li></ul>Steps to the Temple
Living off the land! <ul><li>Dry as a bone </li></ul>
A rare tree <ul><li>A rare tree </li></ul>The land is green for only six weeks of the year. Many houses are still built into the mountains beyond and a few of my colleagues’ parents and grandparents still live in caves.
A place without people is just a place, but… <ul><li>Here are some of the people </li></ul>
Ma Guilin making a broom to sell <ul><li>Ma Guilin making a broom </li></ul>She works fourteen- hour days. She is Hui and has three sons to support. Her husband died of stomach cancer in 1999
Zhang Zuotang, a lecturer at the University <ul><li>A lecturer outside his childhood home. </li></ul>Zuotang is one of seven Children and during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) ate beetles and tree-bark to survive. He has two Masters Degrees and his brother is Professor of Chinese Culture at an American University.
Zhang Bo outside his son’s shop <ul><li>Sitting on the wall of his son’s shop </li></ul>Mr. Zhang was shy about anyone photographing him but said if I told everyone that he is proud of his son because he has his own shop, then he wouldn’t mind. He told me that China is changing fast and he thinks the future is full of hope.
Ma FengJun plying his trade <ul><li>He sells herbs and spices every day of the year </li></ul>Mr. Ma sells chickpeas, sunflower-seeds, and peanuts when he can get them. His wife has a stall Just along the road from him and in a good year they consider themselves well-off. In a bad year, they rely on the kindness of the community to keep them going. They have two daughters.
Or one of my favourites, Han Guozhi <ul><li>Little Han </li></ul>This little bobby-dazzler ran Up to me when he saw me, shouting, ‘Look, Mum, it’s an angel!’ His mother apologised but I assured her I didn’t mind at all! He kept running in front of me, posing for photographs. When a few days later I presented him with a copy, he cried with joy. His own photograph! He held it aloft as he ran home.
He Xiao Hua outside her parents’ pork restaurant <ul><li>Her hair was shaved to prevent lice </li></ul>He Xiao Hua has a really great sense of humour. I asked her once, pointing to the grill in my kitchen, what is this in Chinese. ‘Look it up in a dictionary!’ she said. Four years old!
There are contrasts of life-style in Guyuan A woman’s work is never done! Men playing Chinese chequers
Relatively rich: He Xiao Hua and her sisters. <ul><li>(relatively) Rich (He Xiao Hua and her sisters) </li></ul>
Poor: Ma Ling, Huang Li and Mei Mei <ul><li>Poor – Ma Ling, Huang Li, Ma Meimei - street beggars </li></ul>
My favourite photograph One day I bought Ma Ling and her sister some milk; each little bottle came with a straw. After I left, she rushed after me shouting my name: I looked back to see her weaving her way through the bicycles on the road, and holding a single straw aloft. I had given her three straws instead of two. This was one of my most beautiful memories from Guyuan.
Or obscenely poor – I don’t know his name <ul><li>He works the streets. He has probably been disabled by his parents in order to raise money. </li></ul>He was probably deformed on purpose by his parents in order to earn money on the streets. This practice has been outlawed, but it still happens because Beijing is far away from Guyuan. About 1000 miles. And people are desperate.
Eager to learn in a primary school <ul><li>In a primary school classroom </li></ul>
Despite terrible overcrowding <ul><li>In a secondary school classroom </li></ul>
Eager to learn (again) <ul><li>In a University classroom </li></ul>
Barred from Education? Meimei, Huang Li and Ma Ling outside the campus
People work long hours in all weathers, all their lives
People live in large extended families <ul><li>Large extended families (the norm) </li></ul>
Or, if they’re less lucky: in an orphanage Actually, these children are still quite lucky, as the Guyuan Orphanage now has prefectural funding.
This child particularly caught my eye: Bai Mei, was one of the many children at the orphanage. Often the children were orphaned because of the death of one or both parents from illnesses they couldn’t pay to treat.
Now, look! Meimei’s in the middle! My dean sponsored her education for the next six years.
An overview of educational circumstances £1 = 13.5 yuan * 30-50 yuan a year to send a child to primary school; * 150-200 a year to send a child to secondary school * 1,800 yuan a year to send someone to University Remember, the average yearly earnings are about 1800 yuan in the countryside (£150) Many families cannot afford to send a child to secondary school, let alone university. Older children are needed to work on the land. It’s a double-bind. They need money for the work not provided, plus the money for the fees.