Beautiful Strangers   Imagine a party gathering of 200 people sharing much faith, hope, joy and camaraderie. Yet it wasn't at a party that I witnessed such kinship, but at Ganhaizi village located in Kunming, Yunnan Province, about three and a half hours away in the mountains. One of the poorest villages in the region, the whole village only has 62 households, comprising about 200 villagers. The average annual income per person here is about 3,500 RMB. All of its villagers live day after day in rural houses that are broken down and which have very limited supply of water, electricity, sanitation and resources. Some of the villagers even live with the livestock. Everyday, in sun or rain, men go out to build new houses or to repair the older broken houses. Some farm their fields, while the women cut firewood, feed the livestock, look after the children and prepare meals for the whole village. Their lives may appear hard, yet they live in their own simple ways without any complaint in "cozy" homes. Their only entertainment may be chatting with each other after each meal in the basket ball court where everyone gathers. No telephone, no radio, no iPad, no whatsapp, no Facebook …. Yet with no technological distractions, friendship and love is shared all around in purity. Once I showed them their photos on my iPad after a dinner, all the villagers were so happy and excited. Sometimes the simpler life is sweeter. There are no "HOME SWEET HOME" signs hanging in these villagers' homes but their lives are testament to that motto. I can see the villagers' unity and enduring vitality. They may not need more money or better food. What they want is very basic: a roof over their head and a harmonious family. Whenever I took photos of them, they were always smiling. Whenever I bumped into them, they would invite me to sit on their “sofas". As a visitor to Ganhaizi, you only meet friendly and hospitable BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS. { YUNNAN GANHAIZI BUILD 26 - 30 OCT 2013 }

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