Summer in Yangjuan Pass

by on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 Comments


I have travelled many times to Liangshan Prefecture, home of Sichuan’s Yi minority. Reporting on festivals in Zhaojue, Puge or Meigu counties, I have taken countless photographs and made many Yi friends, whom I like to visit each time I am back in Liangshan.

It was only during the summer of 2006, however, that I went to Yanyuan County, in the western corner of the prefecture. I was accompanying a French scholar, Benoit Vermander, to Yangjuan village. Yangjuan has more or less become a household name in Liangshan and Chengdu, as a school has been built there thanks to the efforts of Benoit, Professor Stevan Harrell (University of Washington in Seattle) and many friends from Chengdu and other parts of China. Not only does Yangjuan enjoy the benefits of a good primary school, it has also embarked on a variety of experiments: summer educational courses, hydraulic works, sheep rearing and following the lives of young migrant workers… Most of these experiments are small-scale, which is actually an advantage because it allows for trial and error, involvement of the villagers, and potential duplication in other places… Even if the experience remains limited in scope, Yangjuan is a kind of social laboratory.

In fact, “Yangjuan” is not the official name of the place. This community is officially part of Baiwu Township, in the north-central part of Yanyuan County. The area is beautiful, with streams and cliffs, fields of buckwheat, corn and sunflowers. There are mountains on all sides, rich with forests of Yunnan Pine and hundreds of species of plants. Sheep, goats, horses, cattle and pigs graze in the pastures. However, I know that in wintertime, things are different. Everything is barren, water is sorely lacking, people are cold, malnourished and often sick without reliable medical care. Development is needed, but local people must be the actors of the development process.

What made summer of 2006 so special was also that Benoit was not alone this year. He came with his younger sister, his brother in law and their four children (7 to 13 years old); all of them arriving directly from France. Going to Yangjuan when this is your first trip to China is most certainly not a banal experience!

These pictures document this extraordinary summer at a remote village in Liangshan, where friends come together every summer, to forge a tiny part of a better future…

{rokbox album=|myalbum|}images/stories/focustale/yangjuan/*{/rokbox}

Liang Zhun (梁准)

廣州人,九○年代到四川發展。她是中國國家高級攝影師,也是作家,重心放在民族攝影,善於呈現故事面的人性情懷。

"Ah-zhun" (AZ) is a photographer and reporter from Canton who has lived in Sichuan for the last fifteen years, researching the ethnic minorities of southwestern China. She has taught photography in two universities of Chengdu, and is a member of the Chinese Society for Ethnographic Photography. She has volunteered in the areas devastated by the Sichuan earthquake for more than five months. She is now starting anew as the chief editor of "A-Z cultural enterprise, Shanghai", a company specializing in cultural exchange and creation.

Help us!

Help us keep the content of eRenlai free: take five minutes to make a donation

AMOUNT: 

Join our FB Group

Browse by Date

« May 2019 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

We have 3733 guests and no members online