China’s Sohu newspaper reported that when a group of volunteers went to teach in Daliang Shan, Sichuan province, they were shocked at the extent of the poverty here. Many children have not bathed for 7 years, and people and animals live together.

How poor is China’s Daliang Shan?

This is outside the main gate of a school in Zeyue village, Puge district, Daliang Shan city. Pigs run in front of houses, these cracked mud houses are where they live.

The author of the article said, “I’ve been coming here for a few days, what makes me suffer the most is going to the toilet, especially at night. If I go, I’m scared to death, if I don’t go, I’m afraid I won’t be able to hold it. Each time I blamed myself for drinking so much water. The toilet is located opposite the school, no lights, no people, just me alone. Every time I go, I have to take death lightly. What’s more painful is this old-fashioned toilet, looking up I see a cobweb, looking down is a hole full of maggots. Sometimes small insects appear to scare me, so every time I have to hurry to win.” (Pic 1, Pic 2)

In fact, there is not enough water here, except for daily chores. Water conservation is a must. Male volunteer teachers normally go to the county to bathe every week and they only use towels to clean.

The author said, “First of all, you need to think whether you are confident enough to truly be a competent teacher in the face of such harsh living conditions, no water, no electricity, and even patchy cell phone signals? Can you face the solitary mountain life? Do you complain when you chop wood, cook, and do your own laundry? When you were bitten by bed bugs, was your initial decision shaken? When you have trouble in class, do you give up? And do you feel condescending when there is a conflict with the villagers?” … (Pic 1, Pic 2)

At noon, at the end of class, teachers started cooking lunch. In class they are teachers, after class they are chefs. (A kitchen)

Previously this school did not have a kitchen and did not have lunches for children. To provide free lunches at the beginning of the school year, this not-so-bad looking kitchen was hastily built during the summer break.

There are no rags, no sponges, no soap, even clean water is rare. The pots and pans used for cooking for the children look very dirty, because there is not enough clean water and no soap. The author said, “I have even witnessed the scene of many children, after pouring out the remaining portion of rice, they directly put their bowls into the container of water used to wash the dishes, rub once and pick it up.”

The kitchen is not big enough. There is a large pot next to the cornfield outside the classroom. The goat meat and radish dish that afternoon was cooked here, there were more than 100 people eating, pots and small bowls were not enough.

This was the first time the children had lunch with white rice, a rare meal. For 10 years, their lunch consisted of potatoes and buckwheat cakes. They were cooked the night before, and by the next afternoon, it was already cold and hard.

The author wrote: “This is the scene that saddens me the most. Many children are afraid that they will run out of rice, so they stuff themselves. Looking at the wrinkled eyebrows of the children, I really don’t know how to smooth the wrinkles and remove the pain in their hearts.”

At noon, the children gathered in the school yard like this to eat.

This is where the children wash the dishes.

This is a dormitory for boarding students. A small bed for 3 to 4 children. At the school in the center of the Rekeyida village, about 240 children live on campus, but there are only 70 beds.

This is a teacher’s bedroom, as well as an office. The teachers here are all the same, because traveling is difficult, it is necessary to stay at the school often. However, due to the lack of bedrooms, many teachers combine the office with the bedroom.

In the preschool classroom of Weiluo Elementary School, the lights are dim, and a small blackboard is filled with pinyin letters.

This is the children’s bed, there are flies on it. The author wrote, “Don’t blame the teachers and the children for not paying attention to hygiene. When the food warehouse is full, they will know the rituals, if there is no lunch to eat, how can they care about these things?”

After the meal, the teachers help wash the dishes, then they go to class.

Poverty has been part of the Yi autonomous region of Liangshan Mountain, Sichuan province. As the largest settlement of the Yi people in the country, most of the inhabitants of Daliang Shan live in poverty and find education difficult.

In 2019, the essay “Tears” written by fourth grade students at an elementary school in the Yi Autonomous Region of Liangshan  was described as the most tragic work. In the mountainous areas, the phenomenon of humans living with animals still exists.

How poor is Daliang Shan? A reporter from Xinhua News visited Mayi village in Meigu district, Liangshan to find out. The villagers’ houses here are very old. They don’t have money to build a barn and fearing that the cattle will freeze to death at night, the whole family of seven lives with the cattle.

Aniu Muchu, a 7-year-old boy from this village, said he has never had a bath, his family has no toilet nor toilet paper.

Finally, the author wrote, “It is the poorest place I have ever seen. If not for the investigation and interviews, I would never have been to this wildest area in China – Ma Chanping, about 50 km (31 miles) from Xichang, located in Yuma Shan village, Shaba town, Mianning district.”

It must be said that suffering manifests itself in a shabby residence. The author said, “We live in Ri Ahuo’s house. He is a mountain person. At night, Ahuo takes out a large bag from the house and leads us to a low brick shed. Ahuo took out a blanket from her bag to keep us warm.”

The author concluded, “I see the whole place where we live like a cowshed. I never imagined I would live in a place like this, with a damp blanket and rats squeaking in my ears. We couldn’t sleep all night.”

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