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Over the Lancang River
2021-07-29 10:31:19


Over Lancang River, in Foshan Village of Deqin County in Yunnan Province, it is still possible to see a thick rope and steel chains hanging over the river. In the past, they were used as suspension cable to cross the river and carry material and animals from one river bank to the other. Some old villagers who have spent their entire life along the river share their story about this ancient system that was built long before they were born.

Since the population was very poor when this system was put in place, they couldn’t afford a steel chain and therefore used a big rope made of bamboo attached to a tree on each side of the river. Although crossing a wide and wild river that way sounds really scary these days, when the locals used it before the physical bridge was built, they were not scared at all. It was just a part of their everyday life. Some used a piece of wood hanging on the rope to cross the river while some used a leather belt. Larger belts were used to transport humans and mules. Steel chains were installed later to replace the bamboo rope for safety sake.

People from other places used to come over to the village to worship the mountain and follow the Ancient Tea Horse Road, therefore they needed to use the suspension cable. The villagers stayed the whole day to wait for them, charge them and make quite a lot of money. The recall of the past still makes them laugh. As far as they remember, it was a good business indeed!

The construction of the Pudu Bridge was a real game changer, making all the transportation much easier. When using the zip line, they had to cower to go through the river. Now they can easily walk through and move as they please. This change brought a lot of convenience in their life. It is now much easier to go on the other side of the river for harvesting crops and carrying the crops from one side to the other. The thought of not having to bear anymore the hardship of the past brings big smiles of relief on their face.

The improvement of livelihood also enables almost all villagers to own a car of their own and use all the roads built over the last decades conveniently to access their lands at ease. While they had to rely mostly on manpower in the past, the economic development and the arrival of machines have brought massive changes to their life. The villagers say they are happy and feel grateful for all the changes they have witnessed and experienced over the years, which have resulted in much less hardship and a much more comfortable life.

TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY CECILE ZEHNACKER

Source: China Pictorial


 
 
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