(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If you would
like to know more about these kids and how you can help them, please visit
the Jian Hua website, or write
Our email address is on the
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