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Ninglang, Yunnan Province, China

("Up" takes you to the Yunnan page; click here for the Photo Album index)

Sister-pages:   Home Up Dali Lijiang Ninglang Teng Chong Volcanos Heijing

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Ninglang (which I'm writing as "Ning-lang" for the sake of foreigners) is over four hours from Li-jiang by bus, over the winding, dangerous road shown below (I've heard that there is also a seven-hour alternative route!). The terrain is too mountainous for a train, but an airport is being planned for nearby Lugu Lake (I don't know when it will be finished, but I hear that Yunnan already has more airports than any other province in China--because of all the mountains). Rock slides are common (below right), and a Chinese worker we know was severely injured as a boulder crashed through the window of her bus. But the trip is also beautiful beyond words. One can only stare in awe and wonder at the homes and villages that farmers have carved out of the steep hillsides.

Water buffalos help cultivate a small piece of flat land in one of the valleys between Li-jiang and Ning-lang, as they have done for centuries.

This is Ning-lang and some of its surrounding fields, seen from the roof of the Blue Sky orphanage.

Yunnan is home to people from over half of China's ethnic minorities. If I heard right, these waitresses are from the Yi ethnic group, and the headdresses show that the middle woman is married. The left part of this photo also shows that the signs in this area have two scripts: modern Chinese (vertical) and the script of the dominant minority in this area.

Vivian is surrounded by some of the Blue Sky kids. The workers do an excellent job of caring for these precious children, who live in small family-groups (in one four-storey facility). The home is run by the Jian Hua Foundation, in close cooperation with the local Civil Affairs Department.

Michael and Vivian serve on the Board of Trustees for the orphanages in Yunnan overseen by the Jian Hua Foundation (both in Ning-lang and Li-jiang). This photo shows Board members and house parents from China, America, Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK.

Our trips to Ning-lang combine work and play. Because of Vivian's long experience as a professional secretary, she keeps the minutes of our meetings, and also works closely with Chinese colleagues to take care of the paperwork needed to keep everyone informed about the orphanages' needs and development.

After our meetings and visits with the children, we head back through the mountains and gorges to Li-jiang. At the top of the zig-zag road shown in the first photo, you get this view (above right) of the valley below, with its two suspension bridges and a small town hugging the narrow pieces of flat land along the river. I think it is the biggest town in between Li-jiang and Ning-lang, and always seems to be full of life. It is sometimes daunting to face this winding trip (especially during rainy weather, when rock slides are common), but once we get to the end it is always a joy to see the children!


If you would like to know more about these kids and how you can help them, please visit the Jian Hua website, or write to us!


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