by Daniel Wu and Evelyn Shi
The world is going through harsh times due to COVID-19, whether that be politically, economically, or even on smaller more personal levels. Everyone is doing their best to keep their friends and families safe—even in a village as secluded as Xiaohusai.
“The coronavirus has definitely had an impact on our daily lives. Business-wise, tea prices have fallen, and we can't sell all of our tea,” said Zhang Ruihong, the father of one of our scholarship recipients. For many farmers, their only means of supporting their family has been crippled.
On the bright side, because Xiaohusai is located quite rurally, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in the village. The nearest case was in Lincang, a city 2-3 hours away from Xiaohusai. Zhang Xiaowang, the father of another family we are sponsoring, said, “We all wear masks here and wash our hands frequently.” Other families in the village are also being very careful.
Schools around Xiaohusai closed for three months due to the virus, but the children of Xiaohusai haven’t stopped their education. Zhang Ruihong’s children have been taking online classes: “While school was closed, my daughter, Shunyuan, learned using a cell. My younger son, Shunjie, was assigned homework in his textbook through WeChat messages his teacher sent... Good thing we have phones.”
Lately, things have been looking up in Xiaohusai as China slowly reopens. A few weeks ago, schools reopened around the village. Dao Xiaowu, the mother of two of our scholarship recipients, said, “I make sure the kids wear masks when they go to school.” Like many parents, Zhang Xiaowang has resumed his responsibility of dropping off his kids and picking them up from school every weekend. His younger daughter, a 2nd grader, just started boarding school this year. “So now they are back to school, but they’re 10 kilometers away every week,” he says with a bittersweet grin.
Welcome to Spill the Tea, Xiaohusai's blog! In every article, we spill the tea about... tea recipes, project updates, and everything in between.