Photos by ERIC Li YuanlongTranslator by Sandra Lam
Even in late September,’s temperature could rise to more than 35 Celsius. Walking under the sun made one feel as if hair on fire. Sweat leaks out of one’s body like out of a leaking pipe.
A city dweller might have dreamed of staying indoors with modern air conditioning, far away from manual labor in the fields. However, villagers, especially those from the poorer families could not avoid the job. Women, as well as men, from grandmothers with sixty or seventy years to young newlyweds, had to till the soil or carry heavy loads through the mountains.
On the 20th and 21st of September, I travelled through Haizijie, Heguantun and Zhuchang districts of Bijie. I took many pictures of women doing hard labor in the rural areas. The purpose of these photos is not to elicit instant “respect” of these women, because for them, mere respect is far from enough.
This elderly woman is alone. Her husband is long gone. None of her three children care about her.
Living in an old wooden house, “I’ll only eat as much as I can carry.
When I die, just bury me in my home.” She has no hope or illusions in anybody.
Tap water is the best reward during this brief break during back-breaking work in the brick factory.