Hi. I’m Liang (lee-ahng). Welcome to my home in Guizhou (gway-jzoh) Province. My people, the Bouyei (boo-ye) are different from the Han majority in China. We speak a different language and follow our own traditions.
My home is made from stones. Together with our neighbors, we built the walls and put on a thatched roof. My chickens and pigs stay on the ground floor. Our stone fence keeps them from wandering off. My parents, sisters, and I live on the second floor, but we cook outside. I gather and chop wood and help Mother light the cooking fire. I also feed the animals.
We don’t have running water so my sisters wash our clothes in the nearby river. All three of us fetch drinking water. I can carry two full buckets at once. First I attach the buckets to opposite ends of a tree branch. Then I lift the branch, place it behind my head, and balance it across my shoulders.
My father is a farmer. He uses our bull to plow the rice and wheat fields. In the evening, he carves wood and drinks rice wine. My mother and sisters prefer tea flavored with sweet honeysuckle flowers. They patiently embroider colorful designs on skirts, blouses, and hats they have made by hand. They even weave their own cloth on a loom. I love sitting around the evening fire with neighbors. The men tell fairy tales and legends of ancient Bouyei heroes. Not to be outdone, the women recite poems and sing folk songs. They could sing day and night for a week without ever repeating a song!
Next week is the Ox King Festival, an April holiday to celebrate the first day of spring planting. The women make special cakes and steam sticky rice dyed five different colors. In a special ceremony, we offer these foods to our dead ancestors, hoping they will bless our families and bring us a good harvest. Afterwards, half of the rice offering goes to feed our cattle, who get the day off as a reward for working so hard!
Try carrying water like Liang and his sisters. Find a long pole like a broomstick, mop handle, tubes from your vacuum, or baseball bat. Hook a bucket (or plastic container with handles) over each end of the pole. Make sure the two containers are of similar size. Lift the pole with buckets and balance it across your shoulders. Have a parent pour equal amounts of water into each container. Try walking without dropping the containers or splashing water. If you’re trying this inside, have some towels handy in case of spills. Imagine fetching water from the river several times a day and carrying heavy containers home like this.
- Pray that God will reveal himself to Bouyei villagers who work constantly to please the spirits they fear. Pray that their fear will be replaced by hope in their Creator God.
- Bouyei families have an oral culture, preferring to learn through telling stories and singing rather than reading. Pray that the good news of Jesus will come to them through Bible storytelling, drama, and music.