Dajie Village, Shimen Village, Weining County Social Survey Report
“The Five Ridges wind like gentle ripples, And the majestic Wumeng roll by, globules of clay.” adapted from Chairman Mao’s Poem---Long March, the referred majestic Wumeng is what we called Wumeng hinterland, frigid mountainous area. Weining County, Guizhou Province lies in there; it is a national-level poverty-struck county, bordered with Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province, also besides of Jinsha River, and in the opposite of Liangshan District. It is one of the backward counties in Guizhou Province.
At the end of August, 2007, we went to Weining to take a social survey. We put focus on the interviewing part of villages like Dajie Village, Shimen Village and Dongshan District. According to our survey, the annual incomes per villager reach RMB200 to RMB500. In the survey, we have witnessed the harsh life of local people, and we would make a report in items as follow:
Most of the villages in Weining County have opened some simple roads, but it does not mean that the road could pass the vehicles easily. The condition is badly operated, when it encounters a raining day, the slides could be happened, in addition, there exist many slopes and twists in the road, and thus it would be extremely hard to take transportation in Wumeng hinterland.
The main transportation tool is the two legs, passing across twisty alleys, and climbing over a serial of mountains.
Most of the villages in the plain area and some who have a relatively good transportation have been used the electricity in recent two years.
But there still exists some villages, which haven’t been used the electricity.
Though in most villages, they have been used the electricity, but it doesn’t mean that every resident in the village could use it, because most of the villages can’t afford to pay for the electricity charges.
In Guizhou Mountainous Area, it is always raining and abundant in water, but the Karsts geology condition make the land could not save the water, thus it is difficult for the villagers and livestock to drink water!
In most of the villages, the people have to go down the valley to fetch water, usually the rounds would take more than two hours, and some far away area would take more than 4 or 5 hours.
Some NGO (Non Governmental organization) help the locals to build the cisterns near their houses, it could conserve the raining water, and could cater for the basic drinking level of the locals with livestock.The NGO also help some villages in short of water to find the nearby water resources, and set up some simple pipes to lead the water through the villages, unfortunately, because it is short of the operating funds, they could not help more villagers to solve the drinking problems.
In the survey, the water pollution phenomenon in Weining area is in extremely serious. Part of the water sections have been polluted by the metal, it is undrinkable and poisonous.
In our survey in the village, what we have seen are all flat houses, using the mud or stone as the building material. Most habitats using the hay as the ceiling, those villagers who have better living condition would use cement as the ceiling, which could also save the raining water.
In the house, people were living with their livestock, and the house also as the stock of the food. Therefore, it could breed some flies and bugs. It has a bad hygiene condition.
In addition, there was little furniture in the house, except the bed, table and stool, farming tools, there haven’t had any other properties.
Average families would dig a hole to burn the fires, some better ones would use a stove, and some even better ones would build a furnace. The fire would not extinguish by years. The fire would be used in cooking or heating in the cold.
In the Weining Mountain, it produces one best quality smokeless coal, but it was mostly exploited by small-sized coal kilns. The villagers living near it would buy the coal, which costs RMB 4 per day in average.
In recent years, most small-sized coal kilns were shut down; the villagers couldn’t buy the coals any more, or afford to buy the coals, would cut the woods to burn the fires, thus it increased the desertification of the mountain. The situation is not so promising.
Also in recent years, The NGO promote the methane project, it means that by building the cement pool, then supplying it with human and livestock’ feces, airproofed, at last, it could produce methane, which could be used as cooking and lighting.
The cost of one methane pool is about RMB 3,000.It is made up by the governmental subsidies, NGO Supports, and villagers’ own parts. It is significant that have been received success in part of areas.
But the NGO still encounter difficulties: how to raise more funds in the promotion of methane pool project, the cistern, and the water-leading, what we called “SOS Project”.
The staples in the locals are corns, potatoes, and buckwheat. In these two years, they began to grow tobacco leaves.
The food is mainly eating with potato and corn, baking or stewing, even dipping in salt and spicy water. Most of the families, including the school children, could only have two meals.
There didn’t product the rice. So the rice and noodle need to be purchased in the outside, carrying by villagers ‘shoulders. Therefore, it is not easy to eat rice and noodle. There exists the famines before, but now it is not a problem to have foods.
Weining County is a Miao, Yi, Hui autonomous county, the habitants including Han, Miao, Yi, Hui,and Cai groups. The Miao Minority group is mainly the Flower Miao.
The traditional costumes colors of Flower Miao is mainly consisting of red, black and white, specially embroidered with Flower Miao designs, with a shawl in upper body, skirts or short gowns. In most districts, they still keep the tradition of weaving the clothes. They would wear their ethnic costumes in their holidays or weekends.
They would wear Han costume when they are in the work. Most of the villagers wear badly, you could see the patches easily, the clothes of the olds and the children’ would be worse. Maybe it is because the olds would like to save the money of new clothes, the children would not like to cherish their clothes.
There are many high-altitude villages, with the altitudes above 2000m, it would be too long for the winter, and the temperature would below 20 degrees, with rain and snows. I t is freezing and damp, except the heating by the stoves; I think it is still difficult for many families to warmed by the clothes.
Thus it is necessary and urgent to organize the urban citizens to endow the used clothes, especially the clothes in winter.
Except some normal illnesses, the following three illnesses have been hated by the locals.
Rheumatic: For the climate there is damp and cold, it is short of heating condition, thus the villagers are easy to get the rheumatic, and then lose the working abilities gradually.
TB: According to the uncompleted statistics, the TB rate of this district reaches 7%-10%. Even worse, the villagers don’t have the common sense about this illness. This illness has been taken as a free charged illness which has been approved by our nation.
But here, the illness hasn’t even been checked, also the common sense has not been penetrated into people’s mind. It attributes the local government’s misconduct.
The bad sanitary condition formed by some objective causes, like human living with livestock, bad ventilation, and shortage of water. It is the important reason to have such a high TB rate. The innocence to the TB knowledge would be also an important reason what the TB spreads widely in the village. It is extremely anxious.
Chronic fluorosis: The ecology deterioration would spoil the biology chain definitely, thus formed a malign circus, and produce some local illness; the chronic fluorosis is the one. In many districts of Weining, there are high amounts of Fluor in the water, the long term of drinking such water would cause the bone loosen and intenerate. The main symptoms would be the teeth growing yellow and black, then loose, after the adult, the villagers would be hunched, and disabled for their whole life, some worst would lose the working ability completely.
When we talked with the women in the villages, and knew that they would carrying the babies in their own families. They are also short of the common sense about health and sanitary birth control.
We could guess that the gynaecopathia rate would be high here.
When the villagers got sick, some indispositions that they would bear with, others they would go to the hospital.
There are health centers in every town, but there are few in the villages. Therefore, it would be inconvenient for the villagers to take hours to the town health center. Even though they go there, after the doctor’s prescription, most of the villagers would not afford to the medicine charges.
In recent years, our country is promoting the village Medicare policy. Every villager only have to pay RMB 10 to the Medicare insurance, then they would receive reimbursement some proportional fees. But the penetration is not high, mainly because of the ideology, but some do have the economic problem, especially those families who have too much burdens.
It is very good, according to what I have seen, the thought of “man is better than woman”, which is popular in Han Group, was not prevalent in Wumeng Mountainous Area. It is rare to see the over-birth phenomenon. The amounts of families which adopt one child policy (even only one girl) are not few.
Even in the most humble villages, the best house must be the school.
When the country adopts the policy: the schools in the villages combined, and students would get some benefits and subsidies, some schools in the villages were canceled, and the children would go to some schools with better conditions. Though it could make difficulties for some low grade child, they have to walk with some older children in the same long road; mostly it would take 4 or 5 hours. Except some fragile children, most of the children would adapt it.
Though some elementary schools haven’t adopt the benefits and subsidies policy, but most families would afford and like to make their children finished the elementary school.
Most students have to have boarding and lodging after the junior middle school, the expenditure about the tuition and living costs would increase, most families began to feel burdensome. So the dropout rate is fairly high.
Those students who could go to high schools in Weining County or other cities are all high-achieving students in every village. Most of lucky villagers have to borrow money to provide their children with enough high education.
In the village, if one student could enter the University, that means a family’s economy collapse, and debt burden. But the family is in bittersweet moment.
In most schools in villages, the teaching facility is not good, the public school teachers wouldn’t like to go there; even if they go there, they wouldn’t stay long, in addition, the cost of private teacher is low, and so many schools like to recruit many private school teachers. The salary of one public school teacher per month is about RMB 1,000 to RMB 2,000, while the salary of private school teacher per month is RMB 100 to RMB 300, which could only make a living, thus how the teachers would devote themselves in enhancing the teaching researches? The education quality in the villages is deteriorating gradually, and the gap between the cities and towns is becoming larger and larger. It would influence upon the National Citizens Quality in the long run, thus would be a tragedy.
The post offices are still not opened in many towns and villages of Weining. The papers and letters needed to be fetched in some representative agencies of some towns, while the package could only be fetched in nearby city. The Bank of Credit is still operated by hands, but not computers.
We do have been to Weining area, the local harsh life made us so sad. For there are still many similar areas we haven’t been to. They need to receive our attention, and get our help.
We have set up an” Entering the Shimen Village” unit, combined with investigations, we would promote serial commonwealth programs to this area, and recruit more volunteers working with us, to serve with the villagers there heart and soul.