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Daily Life
Life in Rural China
26/12/2008 03:11:33    Author : BBC    Browse : 1337
Despite China"s economic boom, poverty and hardship remain a way of life in the countryside.
Rush hour
On the main street through Donglu village, in China"s Shandong Province, residents have to watch out for haystacks, piles of bricks and the occasional stray cow. There are few cars. The village is home to around 500 people, who mostly work in the fields growing wheat, maize and vegetables. There is a shop and a doctor"s surgery. Workers are building an office for the village party chief.
High hopes
Farmer Wu Huailan spends her days tilling the fields, but she does not want her daughter to follow in her footsteps. As her daughter failed to pass the recent university entrance exam, Mrs Wu says she now wants her to go to a big city to work. Many young people leave the village to find better jobs, often sending money home to their families to help them survive.
Courtyard home
Villagers live in courtyard homes surrounded by high walls. Inside, people, pigs, cows, chickens and other animals battle for space. Donglu village has running water and electricity, but homes lack many basic essentials. There are no toilets. Flat roofs provide a good space to sort out this year"s wheat crop.
Hard life
Lu Qingze was only 10 when his father died. That left him in charge of a family with six children. Mr Lu, who shares his surname with almost everyone else in the village, has worked on the land ever since. To supplement his income, the farmer also has two cows and a few dozen chickens. He recently bought a piglet.
Political education
Slogans are often used in China - even in villages - to urge the masses to follow the correct political line. This one calls on residents to strengthen the law and order system to ensure a peaceful village. Another slogan in Donglu encourages villagers to abandon arranged marriages and let youngsters decide their partners for themselves.
Village doctor
Doctor Li Peiyou looks after residents" less serious medical problems from his surgery in the centre of the village. He sees around 20 people a day so he also has time to look after his nine-month-old daughter. For more serious illnesses, villagers have to travel to the county town of Chiping, around half-an-hour"s drive away.
Water shortage
The lack of water is a problem across northern China, a particular worry for farmers such as Lu Qingze. In order to prepare his field for the next crop, Mr Lu is nourishing it with water drawn from under ground. But doing this year after year is depleting underground supplies.
County town
This is where villagers come if they want something they cannot buy or grow in the village. With its chaotic streets, many of which are currently being rebuilt, Chiping has the county"s main hospital, schools and shops. Despite its local importance, Chiping is a world away from modern cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
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