Thanks to efforts of a poverty alleviation working team to improve the living conditions of Jiayi village, the traditional stockaded village where people of Miao ethnic group inhabit has become cleaner and more attractive day by day.
Located in Jihua township in the hinterland of the Moon Mountain in Rongjiang county, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, Jiayi village has 1,843 residents of 409 households in six natural villages or 14 village groups.
The mountainous village has long been troubled by the scarcity of water and farmland. Because of its unique terrain, residences are scattered in mountains and valleys.
For centuries, local people of Jiayi village had lived in semi-seclusion in typical two-story wooden buildings of the locality, where poultry and livestock like pigs, cattle, and chickens used to be kept on the ground floor, while people lived on the second floor.
In 2018, a working team on poverty alleviation and Party building of the information center of the organization department of Rongjiang county Party committee came to improve Jiayi village.
“The local people are used to their traditional lifestyle and change would by no means be easy,” said Sun Jian, a member of the working team, recalling the first time he visited the village when sewage flowed everywhere and people and animals were surrounded by mosquitoes and other insects.
As it was difficult to find a resettlement site for the livestock, and it would require a lot of efforts to clear the feces of animals, no household was willing to remove the livestock from their house.
The working team and local officials of Jiayi village then helped villagers relocate animals to an area far away from residential areas and clear the feces. After the cleaning, they started comprehensive renovation to the ground floors and made the houses much more livable.
As the transformed houses were not only clean, pleasant, and free from bad smell, but had twice the living space they could offer before, more residents were willing to renovate their houses.
Although the transformation did give a brand new look to the houses, the dwelling environment in people’s homes was still untidy, disorderly, and bad, for their living habits didn’t change much and they didn’t pay enough attention to keeping their homes clean.
To completely change the situation, the working team has carried out appraisal activities for domestic hygiene, and given material rewards to families which have kept their homes clean, thus gradually changing the living habits of Miao people.
In addition, the working team has installed kitchen ranges, chimneys, and windows for families that have maintained good hygiene habits, and moved their fireplaces from the second floor to the ground floor to reduce the risk of fire in people’s houses.
So far, Jiayi village has witnessed transformation of 98 dilapidated houses and 106 buildings shared by people and livestock, as well as improvement in 125 houses in poor condition.
Eighty-two houses in the village have been reinforced and 91 old houses and pig and cattle pens have been pulled down.
Moreover, the village has got a total of 156 solar street lamps installed and been equipped with basically complete infrastructure including parking lots and public toilets.
Jiayi village has many high mountains and steep slopes, with 99 percent of its land being hilly areas. The lowest altitude of the village is 680 meters, while the highest is 1,450 meters.
With more than 10,000 mu (about 666.67 hectares) of primeval forests and over 3,000 mu of Moso bamboo woods, the village has a forest coverage rate of 90 percent and a forestland area of 34,373.4 mu.
Due to its subtropical monsoon climate, Jiayi village has warm climate and abundant rainfall. Its primeval forests that haven’t suffered any damage have been the natural treasure of the local people.
In March, Jiayi village established a company to sell farm products and characteristic local products so as to increase income for local people.
The company currently sells bamboo shoots in spring including fresh bamboo shoots, pickled bamboo shoots, and dried bamboo shoots, as well as roots of kudzu vine via online and offline means. The total sales volume of these products have exceeded 200,000 yuan (about $29,480).
A bigger development plan is awaiting Jiayi village, according to Sun, who explained that the village has rich tourism resources, including its profound historical and ethnic cultural deposits, well-protected natural environment, and buildings with unique architectural styles.
Construction of a family inn project is in full swing in Jiayi village. With the main structures all being fully completed, nine high-standard country inns in the village are now undergoing interior decoration.
A visitor center and a building for auxiliary facilities have also been built for Jiayi village. With the decorated archway in front of the buildings getting a brand new look, the tourism project is expected to flourish in half a year.
As rice in the paddy fields in Jiayi village enters mature period, the golden terraced fields look as beautiful as a terrific picture scroll.
Terraced fields in Jiayi village are the masterpieces of the farming culture created by ancestors of Miao people. They represent the oldest features of Chinese rice culture, and have increased the income of some local people who tapped into the unique scenery for tourism development.