Friendship and great gratitude after disaster aid in the mountain village of Yaojin (China)

by sha, 2009/10/05

10 unforgettable months between loss and reconstruction for the people living in the mountain village of Yaojin in the Chinese province of Sichuan.

When, after the devastating earthquake of May 2008, the inhabitants of the small mountain village of Yaojin asked a team of Operation Blessing for help, no one could foresee the outcome of this project.

The village was destroyed, 53 families were living in makeshift shelters with the remaining belongings they had managed to salvage from the ruins of their homes. Especially during the rainy season and the cold winter months, this was a great strain for all of them.

Aerial view of the construction area. Foto: OB.org

First of all, due to the delivery of building material, the drinking water supply could be restored and toilets and showers installed. Demonstrating great ambition and determination, the inhabitants of the village surprised with the enormous reserves of strength they managed to summon up in spite of their shock.

Soon the idea developed to rebuild their houses. After some arrangements, Operation Blessing confirmed that they would provide building material and logistics while the inhabitants of the village had decided to tackle the reconstruction works on their own initiative.

The rubble was rapidly cleared away so that the work on the new buildings could soon be started. humedica contributed to the project by sponsoring three houses, thereby providing three families with a new and stable home.

The construction measures were supported by a spirit of cross-generational solidarity. All of the inhabitants contributed to the reconstruction of the village in accordance with their abilities. Particularly impressive was the commitment of those women whose husbands had left the village to earn money for their families as migrant workers in other parts of the country. Used to coping with everyday life on their own, they knew how to assert themselves in the difficult circumstances of the disaster.

Shortly before the opening of the houses in March 2009. Foto: OB.org

On the 12th of March 2009, ten months after the horrible quake, the opening of the 53 new houses of the mountain village of Yaojin was celebrated with great joy and a solid house given to each family.

A warm friendship had developed between project coordinators, aid workers and the inhabitants of the village, which had manifested itself during the joint celebrations at Christmas and the Chinese New Year’s ceremony.

The inhabitants of the village whose livelihood is based mainly on agriculture have regained some security to plan for the future and confidence to face the challenges of everyday life.

This project can be seen as a further example of cultural understanding, friendship, personal initiative and humanitarian aid.

The women of the small mountain village of Yaojin had to carry much weight on their shoulders. Foto: OB.org.

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