In a Chinese “Model Village”

It is the spring of 1985, and you have joined three teachers from Xiamen University, Fujian Province, on a trip to nearby Lin Village and its about thousand people or two hundred families. This is a “model village,” is one that the authorities recognize as exemplary, so not at all typical. This particular village was being recognized because of its rapid economic growth. Officially it was put under the “responsibility system” in May, 1985 after the villagers had a head start at private enterprise.

Your first impression is of houses made of rock and sundried brick and red tile roofs,

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At A Village Wedding

Michelle was without question the most dedicated teacher I’d ever met, causing some to label her a missionary of French language and literature. In late 1985, when we were both teaching at Xiamen University, Michelle was hoping eagerly that one of her students would invite her to spend part of New Year’s vacation at her home in a farming village in northern China. I’d never before seen this voluble Frenchwoman as excited as she was when the invitation finally came.

Michelle’s story

It took four days by train. We went “hard seat” [third class] because my students couldn’t have afforded … Read More