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Rural Guizhou - living on my grandma's farm

Day 4

overcast 1 °C

My father grew up in rural Guizhou in a place near Qinglong country, where my grandma and great grandma (who is 97 years old!) still live.
Guizhou is a beautiful and very mountainous province. My grandma’s farm is surrounded by mountains and valleys, rice paddy terraces and small villages. It’s a landscape that hasn’t change for centuries, and I doubt that the lifestyle of the peasants who live here have changed that much either. Cultivating rice grains is back breaking work but it’s now helped by some machinery instead of animals.

Our first full day on the farm was an exercise for me in weaning off my iPhone addiction. I’d inadvertently left it back in Guiyang but there was plenty to keep me occupied. I hadn’t been back to visit in five years and my grandma now had a proper concrete house to live in, albeit with an outside pit toilet. We all sat huddled around the coal heater which doubled as a stove. At night time, everyone eats sunflower seeds and chatted – liaotian.

Eating at the coal stove with Stefan, Fangfang, Weiwei and my mum

Eating at the coal stove with Stefan, Fangfang, Weiwei and my mum

My Xiao Gugu (youngest auntie on my father’s side) made us some kind of glutinous rice noodles with green vegetables. The vegetables were AMAZING. So crisp! So crunchy! So tasty! And no wonder – they were freshly taken from the farm that morning. One of China’s big issues is food quality. Apparently 1 out of 10 meals is made from used cooking oil dumped into sewerage and reprocessed. At least I knew everything I ate on the farm wasn’t contaminated (even the chicken and pork were from their farm animals).

In the small village where my grandma lives, everyone knows everyone. The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” is literally true here. There’s a complete open door policy for all neighbours and in the five days I was there, all the kids just stream in and out and go into everyone’s house and eat dinner with who they like. It was amazing for me to see. It takes the idea of helicopter parenting and slams it to the ground, KO style.

So I hung out a lot with Weiwei, 7, and Fangfang, 4. They’re the cutest little girls in the world and my dad’s youngest uncle’s daughter. They showed me around their hood, and we went to investigate all the farm animals and visit their friends. The one child policy doesn’t seem to apply in the countryside – most families had more than 1 kid.

The girls

The girls

Every day I’m hearing a mix of mandarin, Guizhou dialect, the local countryside dialect, and Hunan dialect. It’s making my head go mental because they all sound different.

Posted by jumbo123 21:00 Archived in China Tagged china farm guizhou

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this open door policy is amazing, especially when coming from western cultures where everybody thinks everybody else is a hippie scroogey child molester. a whole new meaning to daycare.

i am also very jealous of your virgin ingredient meal - when i was traveling in the poorest parts of vietnam and eating from the street stalls (want some veggie with that? hold on, let me pick it downstream... ok here you go!) I experienced flavors that I'd never experienced before. like chicken that wasn't raised in a shoebox! ironic how now, if you live in a large city, you have to pay for the privilege of eating naturally, you're screwed if you're middle class, but if you grow your own you can enjoy. more pictures! use a good camera :P

by willyummy

yeah tell me about it. i'm currently in shenzhen and the kids here are raised very differently. the children in the country are brought up to be independent, fend for themselves. even at 4 years old, fang fang wanderered around the different houses, could use chopsticks and her mum knew she'd be OK.

i took some beautiful photos with my camera and lost them all when i went mountain climbing :(

would love to read about your travelling adventures in vietnam. no doubt you would have some great stories!

by jumbo123

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