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Daily Life
Crying Lunch in a Mountain Village School
30/11/2008 19:25:35    Author : Wu Meng & Yu    Browse : 733
This is a remote mountain village far from the city, and away from the noise of the human being. Here you will see not only the picturesque scenery, but also the heartache like poor. Teaching and living in this poor but beautiful area for four years, I used my brush, camera, pictures, text, and DV to record every day and night. I am happy to record every minute which I was moved--village teachers, mountain children, and fellows of mountain areas--their pain and their happiness, and their stories unknown.
In this cold and chilly snowy campus, a group of children in a mountain village school is spending their lunch time in such a way......

This kid smiles so bright, that we almost forget the hardship of his studying. During lunch time he can not go home because his family is too far. He is eating his lunch-- that"s right, and this is his lunch, a few potatoes and a bowl of red chilli. He dips a potato in chilli and then stuffs his mouth- his lunch is as simple as that. He has such a lunch every day just like many other children- potatoes and peppers accompany a lot of children throughout their school career in mountains.

However, this mixed hot potatoes and red pepper powder is not a delicious food. Seen from the children" frown and their pain face, you will know that this burning taste in fact is torturous. The ultra-poor here is unthinkable. Really, even though I was born in a poor mountain area, the extent of the poor here still shocks me--here lots of village fellows still lead the 1950s or 1960s" life of last century and the shadow of hardships and poverty are always around them.

Pepper, in our daily life is just a condiment, but to children in mountains is quite a special thing. The colour of the pepper is bright, but when you stuff the potatoes covered with chilli into your mouth, you perhaps will feel "cold".

Such a scene can be seen everywhere-stove, potatoes and children constitute a unique human landscape here, heartache scenery. Many children will not get a chance to have a bowl of shining white rice until a long time waiting. There is no rice and wheat production, so rice and noodles are luxury food. As for fresh meat, it is a luxury in luxury to lots of children in mountains

During winter time it is very cold here. Nearly each household has this kind iron stove-- local people call it "Backward Wind Furnace". Few potatoes on the furnace are already cooked.   The brown sugar held by children, a local food, is children"s snack.

In fact, those children above are very lucky-they at least can have some hot potatoes in two-hour lunch break time. But the majority of school children just stand in some corner of the school with a empty stomach, and wait the afternoon class. There are more than half of kids in this village school I taught as a voluntary teacher without lunch at all at noontime.

Look at the child"s hand, really sad and shocking. In this new century and under the same blue sky they are still very poor. As a voluntary teacher for many years, I have been to almost every household in this village, but I am failed to see their prosperous future. I think this kind of poverty will continue for many years, many years.

To eat one or two potatoes, you may find the taste delicious, but if every day, every year you keep eating these potatoes covered with chilli, do you still feel it is delicious?

This kid is seen so tiny on the background of the vast mountains. Every day he has to climb and walk on this rough road for several hours. All the way how many times he falls, I am afraid he cannot remember.

Travelling on this hill road for several hours from home to school and then back, from 5:00 am to 8 or 9pm a considerable number of school kids like him only eat two meals.  Can you imagine how hard their lives are?

Beside the school building there is a well, which was donated by one of my friends from Shenzhen. The headteacher is scooping water. This well is not only a major water source for teachers, but also for many students to relieve their hunger and thirst.  Even if in such a cold winter from time to time, there are still some students coming to the well to drink water-drinking plenty of water is also a way for children to alleviate hunger.

However, hunger does not mean there is no pleasure -- children in mountains have happiness, too. Many school kids spend their noontime in this way--the children are in the car sliding strings. Twenty to thirty students form themselves into one line and slide down on the snowy ramp. Children"s laughter is so pure and nature. In this kind of laughter, for the time being they forget their hunger.

Several kids spent a long time pushing these two snowballs and finally making them together.  To see the smiling faces of children, you will find it is so appealing. Life always needs something to laugh.

Even though the road ahead of kids in mountains is full of twists, turns and tough, I still can see their broad smiles on their faces.
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