The View of Rural China

December 20, 2008
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I woke up to the noise of the train screeching to a stop. I looked at my watch to find my destination would still not be reached for another 12 hours. I moved back the blind and peaked my head out the window. The mystic ancient mountains were being smothered and suffocated by the massive colonies of clouds. The peaks were sticking out stretching for breath from the clear sky above. I wish I could get a whisk of that air I had been intoxicated for 3 months now from the Beijing smog and each day have been longing for a whiff of fresh air. I have now been on this train for 24 hours which doesn’t seem long however sitting in on small suffocating bunk for over 5 hours non the less 20 is by far more uncomfortable then can be stressed. I walked down corridors to see most of the people still asleep. They had all been excited to return to their hometowns I had heard from our conversations. Most were migrant workers sent to Beijing for jobs to support their families. I remembered the scene back in Beijing. Small cardboard built boxes that were sufficed as huts painted with dust and testing gravity to its highest by mostly leaning to one side. About 3 refrigerator boxes would house 5 workers if they were given the chance to sleep that night. The building was half built and workers sitting on nothing but thin robes knotted in a textbook size wooden board, being lowered down the building for construction. I saw there little lunch boxes beside their beds were the only luggage they had brought. They each had so much pride, honor, and self-respect. They were serving there own purpose in life and affecting everyone they helped by spreading hope with there smiles and love with there voices. Its mind blowing to see business men on the subway bickering at one another and taking deserving peoples seat as if their tailored pinstriped suit gave them authority over everyone else. And next to them migrant workers in dirty scruffy clothes they had been wearing for over a week without wash, helmets by there sides, and so much peace shown behind there restless faces, tired and warn down often not even capable of holding themselves up from lack of sleep but still offering their seat to anyone who came on the cart. I was glad they had the chance to return home to their families after regretlessly and selflessly working many months away in bad conditions. Finding no one awake to start a conversation with I walked back to my suffocating cart and sat down staring out the window. After I reached our destination I was put on a 4-hour bus ride as if we hadn’t sat enough.
What was greeting us off the 36-hour travel made me regret complaining about the conditions of our prolonged trip? It was absolutely stunning and we were told that the best view had not been seen yet. It was a small village old and run down but each crack had a tail of hundreds of years. The small rock passage way lead off into the river that we had to skip rocks with our book bags to get across. The water fourcesing itself threw the rocks showed the youth of this village as if the village of a rock never moving and never breaking. I got to the other side safely to climb gravel and trees to get to the outside dirt path of the village. Different smells of food could be picked up in the winds lightly blowing scent. It was near dinner and I wish it had been earlier so I could find out some of the many secrets this town held. I walked to the thick doorway to my circle Tulo () to where I would house for the next few days. The dust rose from the earth in the middle as the chickens ran across the floor. It was completely open to the sky and for the most part the middle was a kitchen and chicken coupe. There were 3 floors that held many doors on their walls, which seemed to be the resident’s bedroom. They had one communal bathroom and kitchen for each tulo, which held around 50-100 people, and in our town there were 4 round tulos. Buckets were also located out of each room that sufficed as private bathrooms.
Before I could grasp the image I was rushed in for dinner with my new host family and while I watched them serve the food I wondered around the kitchen. Everything was made on a fire for there was no electricity except the lighting in the room. They would place a huge iron basin in the middle of the fireplace and cook each meal productively. The people had seemed so honored to be able to house me but not nearly as I was to have the opportunity to stay here. I could already tell the roles of my family. There was a 92 year old women smoking a hand rolled cigarette threw her big gap in her mouth behind her wrinkeld hidden face. She had a few rags rapped around her body but the happiness held under her wrinkles in her 4 tooth smile made her capable of wearing a ball gown. She helped make the food with her daughter who had a curiously brilliant son who had been following me througout the kitchen as a spy hiding behind any object available. He was called out and I played along as if I never saw him. I soon learned he was currently in schooling but in a few years would be relocated to a major city as a migrant worker like those on the train. I helped were they would let me and soon we began to fill the table with varieties of foods. Different foods all with different spices I had not yet tasted in Beijing. With my tongue still tingling from the different spices I walked out into the dark mysterious night with my flashlight and started my walk. I passed down the river to the other side of the mountain to where I could see an open sky. It was a sight missed the thousands of starts that were stretched across the skylight up my heart and I could not begin to explain my excitement it was such a change from the Beijing clear night, which brought a miraculous 3 stars if it was a good lucky day. I lay under the sky to look up at the stars. My mind flashed back to the city workers how much they must have missed their homes! How much I have missed mown. I looked back to the differences of Beijing and Fujian not only was the weather her much warmer but the culture as well. Everyone had a peace about themselves as if stress was a non-existent word. They took there own pace with everything and never made any income. Infact the whole town made no income all year! It was a life leisure situation. They lived in the town did there jobs, harvested there fields, made the food, raised the animals for slaughter, and repeated this on a daily basis for survival. What a wonderful life without money and greed. They used their nonbrainwashed minds to make devices and tools to help them with everyday life. My mind and thoughts were washed away from my mind as I saw a shooting star. I leaped for joy and decided to go around town and start conversations with the local people. I had soon learned from the Mayor that at this time of year no more then 100 people were in town because the rest were working in cities. I had also learned they leave at 18 and return in there 40s to continue working the fields. There town held so many secrets and the wisest of them all had the most stories she was 106 years of age this year and I wished to meet her however after my search I never found her. Tired and weary and afraid of getting sick I retired to my bed at 10:00.

I woke up to my alarm ringing at 5:30, it was still dark but I promised myself I would climb the mountain to see the view. I got up just in time to see the sun peaking behind the farther south mountain basking its light onto the gloomy town that had still not waken up. I heard the rooster begin to crow as I sat down taking full advantage of the view. Wishing I could sit for hours at this miraculous indescribable scene I relentlessly got up and made my way down the mountain about to board my train back to Beijing to start school.

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