Gansu (甘肅) is one of the poorest provinces in China. And DingXi (定西) one of its poorest regions. On the road between Lanzhou and its airport, we passed by many brick kilns.
Shape the loess into rectangular blocks, stack them in the kiln, fire for many hours. Presto, you got bricks.
Apparently the loess (黃土) is geographically unstable and erodes easily. Over the years the fertile top layer had been eroded away by water or wind. And the remaining layer is infertile. Coupled with the lack of water, there isn’t that much that can be done with it, but to make brick. No wonder the people are so poor.
Image what it is like to be an orphan in DingXi. Getting an education is the best way to improve one’s life, just like in most other places in China. Building schools and keeping hte children in school is one of the best things that we can do for them. And the children appreciate it. Just like the students in Hubei and other places in China, the students and their family know that this is their way out of a miserable life. They work extremely hard, and they don’t complain. With the expanding economy and the hard work, hope is at hand.
Contrast with what many of our young people in Hong Kong are doing with their lives. When they finally wake up from their slumber, it may already be too late.