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2 Rural Students' First Taste of Urban Life

Popularity 1Viewed 899 times 2018-10-9 19:08 |System category:News

2 Rural Students' First Taste of Urban Life
Yixia and Axia (R) play the video games for the first time in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province. [Xinhua]


Two teenage girls in a poverty-stricken area of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Sichuan province, recently had the opportunity to experience life in the city for the first time after meeting a visiting journalist.

Yixia, 14, and Axia, 15, are middle school students who live on the site of an old shooting range in Mianning county. Many locals suffer from poverty, harsh natural conditions and weak infrastructure.

People in the local community typically receive a substandard education.

However, the nearby counties and cities, along the Anning River, such as Xichang, Mianning and Dechang are located in the national Panxi strategic resource development zone, where the natural climate is mild, the economy relatively developed and educational resources also available.

Since the 80s, with the improvement of road conditions, some farmers who previously lived in the higher-up mountainous areas left their homeland and moved to counties along the Anning River.

They have completely changed their work and lifestyle, and created a relatively better life. Yixia's and Axia's families were among them.

In order to support the family, 54-year-old Erguweige, Yixia's father, has been working most of the past several years at a construction site in Hohhot, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

He said, "Moving away from the mountain is the most correct decision we have made and we don't have to fear landslides any longer. I have also broadened my horizons and can make money on my own."

Axia's hometown is Wamo Village in Zhaojue county. She is quiet and introverted, and far calmer than her peers.

She said there were a total of six children in her family, and she was the oldest. Thus her parents wanted her to quit school after the semester and work to help support the family.

In fact, out of desire to study in school, Axia worked in an electronic component factory in a province in the east during a winter vacation. She had travelled dozens of hours on the train and worked 10 hours a day.

After a month, she earned over 2,000 yuan and gave it all to her parents. She said, "I will do everything to go to school."

In contrast, Yixia has never set foot out of the shooting range.

Their hometown is only 40 kilometers away from the Xichang satellite launching base. Axia and Yixia always sat at the door of their houses and watch the magnificent view of the rockets blasting off.

Moreover, there is always heavy traffic on the nearby Beijing-Kunming Expressway, an invisible wall that has isolated them from such wonders.

The pair are both set to get married to prospective husbands, as was decided by their parents when they were young. Thus under normal circumstances, they will get married after they turn 17.

If the bride's side breaks the engagement, they are obliged to pay a large sum of money to the groom’s family, because what people there value most is commitment and credit.

The two young girls, in the face of such huge compensation, are helpless, whilst they are fully aware that they can only change their fate by keep studying. "If I was a college student, I wouldn't get married so early," Axia said.

Thus, the pair were promised a tour of the city by Wu Guangyu, a journalist, to help them realize their dreams.

Wu invited them to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, where they visited many places such as college campus, library, cinema, research base of giant panda, and some places of interest. Gradually they fitted in to city life after being so cautious and surprised at first.

Their new experiences also included having their first pizza, playing their first video games, watching their first movie and using their first facial mask. When they returned their hometown, they went back to their usual life as before.

As soon as she arrived home, Axia quickly ran to help with the corn harvest. Apart from a new dress, she looked the same as she was previously. However, she has been going through some subtle changes.

Though now they still appear to be shy, they have learned to look directly into the other's eyes during a conversation, respond promptly to questions, and bravely express their ideas.

They are much more determined to go to the college after witnessing the glamour of the city.

Recently, as well, the provincial targeted poverty-alleviation plan for Liangshan has also been implemented among relocated farmers.

According to the education development plan of Liangshan during the 13th Five-year Plan period, by 2020, the number of students receiving nine-year compulsory education should reach 750,000 with a consolidation rate of 90 percent. This goal has been exceeded in 2017. The number of such students has reached 762,300, and the enrollment rate achieved 99.54 percent, according to statistics.


2 Rural Students' First Taste of Urban Life
Axia helps with the farm work after coming back from Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province. [Xinhua]

(Source: Xinhua/ Translated and edited by Women of China)

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report HailChina! 2018-10-12 03:56
Look how poor you are! Can you even believe how poor you are? You had no idea just how poor you were did you. You should have never been born. Your simple parents have gifted you a life that is some kind of hell. Go to uni don't go to uni - you will never escape this hell!

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