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China Daily Global / 2021-01 / 18 / Page015

Scaling toward the good life

By Zhang Lei | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-01-18 00:00

Mose Subure, 27, and five other young villagers from the "cliff village "started working early on Dec 23, 2020. They bundled in batches all the plastic steel tiles that are used for building their house, and have them fixed with splints. They prepared to go back to the village through a steel ladder. These materials are necessary for building a homestay there.

The "cliff village" is the alternative name for Atulieer village, Zhiermo township, Zhaojue county, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, in Southwest China's Sichuan province. It is located in a mountain col at an altitude of 1,600 meters. At the end of 2016, with the construction of the steel ladders, the travel conditions had improved and the outlook of the entire village had also been changed. The introduction of the internet in the village allowed young people to engage in live broadcasts. In 2017, a short video of women climbing the steel ladder in the cliff village taken by Mose went viral on the internet, and he has metamorphosed into an ambassador for the village.

In May 2020, 344 people from 84 impoverished households in Atulieer village had been relocated to new homes in the centralized resettlement area in accordance with Zhaojue county's poverty alleviation program. Walking down the steel ladder and up the concrete stairs in high-rise apartments, the improved living conditions of these households have brought historic changes. Mose Laji, a villager, bought an SUV of more than 100,000 yuan at the end of last year and became the first villager to own a car.

Living in the county's town center, these villagers now enjoy efficient transportation, and it is also convenient for the children to go to school nearby, but Mose cannot afford to leave the cliff village for good. Three years ago, Zhongze Olive Oil Company provided free olive saplings to the villagers.

The terraces there are arranged with olive trees, through which the owner is able to harvest his own yield on this special location up in the mountains. Mose is responsible for the daily maintenance of these olive trees, such as pruning, weeding and pest control. He earns more than 2,000 yuan ($309) a month.

Last year the olive trees start to bear fruit for the first time with a yield of about 850 kg. This gave the villagers hope. In April last year, Mose bought more than 70 sheep and raised them in the mountains. In early December, more than 70 sheep were marketed, all of which were ordered by a company in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province.

The villagers have moved down the mountain, but the village receives a good steady flow of visitors. Mose Subure and five other young villagers spotted this opportunity and started a partnership in a plan to build a homestay in November last year. Mose Jiri, the village's party secretary, says: "The sheep in the mountains and olives are all green and organic. We have built them into a brand and also a name card for the cliff village. We can use the homestay to expand sales channels, and sell them via online shopping platforms throughout the country."

For Mose Subure this year, in addition to having a stable income, the greater joy is the building of a new family. In December 2018, his ex-wife fell ill and passed away, leaving behind three children. In the second half of 2019, Mose and Yang Fei, a girl in neighboring Leibo county, fell in love through an online dating app and reconstructed a family in January last year. This provides his children with a complete family and Mose can better balance family life with his business. He can raise sheep and manage the olive trees without too much distraction.

"The original mud-hutted house is warm in winter and cool in summer. It is cleaned and it has transformed into a homestay. I believe that more and more young people will come back," he says.

The photographer's narrative is translated by Zhang Lei.


Mose Subure (second from right) and his companions return to the cliff village with newly purchased goods. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose (right) sorts out the building materials for repairing the homestay. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose (middle) rests on the steel ladder with his companions. The building materials for the homestay have to be transported to the village through the steel ladder. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose climbs up the steel ladder with the building materials. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose Subure (second from right) and his companions build a homestay in the cliff village. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose prunes olive branches in the cliff village. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose with his wife Yang Fei and two children. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA



Mose Subure cuddles the little lamb in his arm in the cliff village. JIANG HONGJING/XINHUA

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