A recent China Daily article gives us a dramatic glimpse into the everyday life of rural China. While the story is an extreme example, it serves to highlight how the Chinese countryside is vastly different that urban China. Rural China is still decades behind rural areas of first world countries, like the United States.
The article tells the story of 72 families in the Sichuan province with children ages 6 to 15. These children attend a boarding school which they travel to and back home every two weeks. The catch?
The children have to scale a 2,600-foot cliff to get to school!
Using a chain of 17 small ladders – a mix of rope, wood, and steel – the kids climb up and down regularly. It’s a two-hour climb up. One villager suggests the ladder is hundreds of years old. There are no nets or any kind of safety measures.
A variety of socioeconomic factors prevent the villagers from relocating their settlement. The area on top of the mountain is too small to build a school, so the kids make the climb and commute to school.
As is typical in rural China, income is extremely hard to earn. The villagers here live on less than $1/day.
“Our main income is from the pepper and walnut,” said the village head, Er Dijiang. “The buyers know we are from the mountaintop village and that we do not want to carry the pepper or walnuts back, so they offer a much lower price－we have no choice.”
While urban China explodes with growth and opportunities, rural China is like another world. Your support makes a direct and meaningful difference.