The Way

Our second day in Songpan started with nice sunny weather (15C) and we made our way to Sanchaba Village Centre on a difficult and bumpy road because recent landslides. The high cliffs we went through were impressive though! But we were very lucky, it would have been impossible to get there if it was rain as wet weather increased the risks of more landslides and made the road impossible.

Sanchaba Village Community-base touched our hearts. It was located at 3.000 m altitude in a remote place between the mountains. The Centre was built to teach parents and children. It is also an open place where children can go and play at anytime. It is like a cute Smäland open all day long. Workshops for parents and children from all around the area are also organised once a month.

The population in this area is very scattered and live in houses with difficult access. For example;  the family living the nearest to the centre take 30 min walking and the most far away take 3 hours to get there. However, this building was the only Centre for education in the whole area.

It was one of the families living closer to the Centre who we went to visit next. Walking through an unforgettable landscape we could see horses and Yaks climbing on very sloped mountains. We could feel the altitude. We walked very slowly feeling as we could not breath very well, but we did not mind. The feeling of being surrounded by pure nature and the silence was incredible.

The Way of Life in Songpan - by Aleida Martinez
The Way of Life in Songpan - by Aleida Martinez

Finally we arrived to the house. The entrance was built with stones and wood and a small farm and garden welcome us. And at the door, an image hard to forget. Two sisters, looked at us with big curiosity. The family consist of 5 members: the father, the mother, the grandfather and the two small girls dressed with colourful clothes. We realised that this was very typical. They could live in remote areas, with salaries below poverty threshold, but they shine with an incredible strength and energy.

Singular beauty - by Aleida Martinez
Singular beauty - by Aleida Martinez

They invited us to get in and made us feel like at home. We sat down around a big table sharing fruits and milk. We had a long and interesting conversations that needed to be translated from English to Mandarin to Tibetan. The father was talking to us with a smile in the face all the time. And it was not a forced smile, it was a very honest smile that impressed us a lot while listening to him talking about the future of his children. He told us about how good and needed the Centre is. And he also told us about how difficult is to live there during the winter. But resignation was not for him! Extreme temperatures, difficult access and small resources cannot be an excuse for his daughter not to have a good education! Meanwhile, the girls were looking at us very close to their mother who hug them and kiss them shyly. What tenderness in a single gesture!

After thanking them for letting us be part of their life for some time, we went back to the centre to get into the vans. You cannot imagine the big smile in our faces writing this post when we remember a little boy walking around us with hugs and smiles! It was like a shower of positive energy and gave us impressive images as this one:

Every cloud has a silver lining - by Aleida Marinez
Every cloud has a silver lining - by Aleida Marinez