Entering Butuo of Sichuan Province with heart breaking views

Note from Paviavio: The following set of photos were put on internet just the days before the CCP celebrates PRC’s 60 years anniversary. It is totally opposite view of what you could have seen on Tiananmen Square on October 1. The question is: With the existence of such poor people living there, is there a reason to celebrate at all?

The poor houses that visited are all human-animal shared shelters. There is a huge block of wood at the back door that separate a piece of yard to feed cow, sheep, house. Animals can enter inside to find food. We saw hens on bed and herd of pigs in the room. It is often to step on animal stool.

For Yi people (彝族), the door of their houses are open at bedroom side, not at center. The female owner’s bed is at the far most corner from the door (In Yi people’s tradition, a couple do not sleep on the same bed). Near her bed is the center of the house — fireplace. Seniors and guests will be sit away from the door. Ladies and children sit on the opposite side. There is usually a wood cabinet and a concrete sink in a house. Due to the cold weather, there are almost no windows in the houses so that they receive dim Sun light.

Under the slanted roof, there is usually a space like an attic, serving as a storage for dry hay and a room to sleep. The roof is made of roofing Slates, but poor families have to use plastic instead. There is a skylight to get sunshine and to vent smoke.

Food and Income:

People in BuTuo mainly plant potato. So potatoes are their main food. Most families plant some buckwheat and corns. They call corns and buckwheat fine foods (细粮); potatoes raw foods (粗粮).

The soil here is not only thin, but also poor. Except potato, the yield is very low for everything else. If one can not afford fertilizer, then he has to plant potato. When harvest, big potatos are sold for cash, small ones are kept for family members and bigs. In most families where I went, they keep a pile of potatos with long buds. The longest bug is the size of two pencils. We all know that the potatos with buds are toxic, not good for human consumption. But people in BuTuo (布拖) have to eat them anyway. Upon asking whether they know they should not eat them, they all said that they didn’t know. Actually, we ate them too. In one case, one of us ate seven. Nothing happened. Who knows. We can not find scientific evidence. Maybe, the God takes special care of Butuo people.

Poeple there have two means a day, the first one at 10 a.m. and the other at 6 p.m. The only seasonings are salt and pepper.

potato with buds

The diner for whole family is solely boiled potato
The diner for whole family is solely boiled potato

They sometimes bake potatos, sometimes boil whole potatos, or slice potato.
They sometimes bake potatos, sometimes boil whole potatos, or slice potato.

I tasted a piece. There is no salt added. So, it tasted nothing.
I tasted a piece. There is no salt added. So, it tasted nothing.

Baba made of bitten buckwheat taste like herb medicine. I could not swallow it.
Baba made of bitten buckwheat taste like herb medicine. I could not swallow it.

But this is pretty good food in the town.

It is said that rich family buy rice, but among all 40 poor families, I didn’t see one single rice. Most families said that they did not have enough potato.

During bad years, they will borrow potatos from relatives.

What can they do when they need money to buy things or pay for children’s tuition? Simple. If they want to buy salt, they will sell eggs or hens. If they need fertilizer to pay tuition, they have to see whether they have pigs, sheep or cow to sell.

A child at age five or six must help parents to do housework.

Health and Disease:

Fairly speaking, we vitnessed the Butuo government’s effort in education and health. The best buildings there are schools and medical centers.

But the villagers barely have the concept of health care. Adults and children do not wash their hands. Children runs through the village with running noses. Their faces are so dirty that it is hard to see their real faces. In the yards, they keep dung. Human and animals live in the same environment. Hens can jump to human’s bed. Pigs, cows and sheep run everywhere. … One can not blame on poverty. It is mainly due to the concept. In some rich families, I saw the separation of human and animals. Yards are clean and some even have restrooms.

A female villager is using her naked feet to work on dung.

A one year old boy did not wear pans and runs on dungs.

The hands of children

A girl with left eye blind holds her younger brother in a rug. Under the rain, she is shakening.


It is believed to be the best house here.

This kind of house is the worst in the 1970s.

p style=”text-indent: 2em;”>A minority that mix wine into the blood.

There the landscape is very beautiful.

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