Stories Behind the Stories

This coming week, I thought I'd use the blog to tell some of the stories behind the stories you'll be hearing on the radio. So often there are details or little moments that we just can't work into the six or eight minutes of radio that we put on the air. So far on this trip, I've gathered close to 15GB of audio, so you can imagine how much I have to write about.

But today, I'll start with a few photos from a ceremony we attended in Xiaoyudong Township, quite close to the fault. The group Heifer International was donating thousands of chickens to farmers of Dawan Village, whose livelihoods were affected by the quake.

villagers on stools

Farmers from Dawan Village listen, some more attentively than others, to speeches by local officials and representatives from Heifer International. Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Andrea Hsu/NPR

There was something about this scene that I found really touching. The ceremony was held on the grounds of the local Communist Party office. The farmers had walked down from their homes in the mountains, and were sitting in the courtyard on stools and chairs. Right behind them was a new brick structure going up. To the other side stood the old dormitories belonging to the cement factory across the street, windowless and abandoned. Behind all of this loomed mountains, lush with foliage, except for the wide swaths that had suffered landslides.


The view from the spot where the ceremony took place. Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Andrea Hsu/NPR

At the end of the ceremony, there was some craziness as local TV and photographers moved in for the photo-op. The chicks that had been brought in for the ceremony were moved here and there, and the farmers positioned just-so. Then everyone was herded to another spot, in front of the banner. More photos. Normally such moments make me cringe. But that day, there was something genuine about the excitement.


The perfect photo, chicks and all. Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Andrea Hsu/NPR



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