Yesterday I visited an art gallery in Zhengzhou and there were some fascinating photos of daily life in rural China. While the photos may appear hundreds of years old, the exhibition ranged from the 1960s to the present. It’s amazing how time seems to stand still in rural China!
Can you imagine having to stand outside for hours on end with a blackboard around your neck to do your lessons? Is this what they do all day long at this school or do they actually have classrooms to sit down in and time to run around and play? Unfortunately, this photo was not dated in the exhibit, so I can only guess at the year it was taken. It reminds me of a visit I had to a Victorian school (in England) but the style of the clothes the children are wearing in this photo is more modern… Either way, I would not have enjoyed spending my childhood like this!
The tag with this photo at the gallery explained that the people were university graduates from a big city, who had been encouraged to help the farmers after finishing college. The life of the peasant farmers was idealized in the 1960s, so I’m sure the students were glad to leave the big city to experience a different way of life, although I imagine they had to work extremely hard on the farm! I wonder if these young people returned to the city after a few years, or if they stayed in their new village for the rest of their lives?
Would you believe that this photo was taken in the 1990s? China has developed a lot since then. There are still many small villages, but I think housing made from bricks has been provided for most of the population now. What an interesting way of life though, selling soup or porridge to your neighbors from outside your straw house, and travelling everywhere by donkey and cart!
(I linked this post with the daily post prompt for the day, as the first photo depicts childhood.)