Figuring out what to say about China was hard. Most of my writing is just ever so slightly tongue in cheek, but that felt so wrong when I wanted to talk about what I’d seen in this country.
I come to China for work, so I get to go places that tourists never see. The site is in the rainforest, a six-hour drive from the closest airport, up and down and across and around untouched green mountains the entire way there. I didn’t take photos on the drive; it felt like something I should experience fully through my own eyes and not through the lens of a camera. Maybe next time I’ll capture the Buyi minority ladies, four feet tall and seventy years old, carrying huge bundles of sticks on their shoulders and driving cattle. Next time I’ll take snapshots of the water buffalo wading through the rice paddies, the road winding up through fields of corn on both sides of the valley. Next time I’ll show you a family of five and a cage full of chickens all balanced on a motorcycle, the driver in flip flops and the rest barefoot.
But this time I just want to honour the sense of family in this amazing culture. I wish I could explain how wholly welcomed I was into their work teams, their villages, and their homes. And in this poorest province of China, they are so willing to help, so eager to share what they have, and so full of love and heartbreakingly beautiful smiles.
Wherever we’re from, regardless of what we’d like to believe about ourselves in this day and age, I think there’s still a huge amount of racism in all cultures. I think we all need a wakeup call every once in a while. I’ve heard this a few times recently from colleagues working in Africa, and I felt it in China – no matter where we’re from or what we have or how we look, we all want the same things: food, water, shelter, love, and a better life for our children.