Hei Bai

CHINA

Somewhere in South Central China, lay a town called Changde. Surrounded by small hills covered with rapeseed flowers, the river was flowing by chaotically like its people.

The day started early with morning exercise at 6 am under the shouting instructions of a Tannoy system before going about with their daily chores.

The workers went to work, the students went to school, the old ladies swept with their bamboo brooms, the recycling men collected on their bicycle, the mattress maker wheeled the cotton round and the food stands were steaming their bums.

It was a town like any other with its grey concrete buildings, a lively market, the newspaper stand for all to read, the elders walking their caged birds, the gamblers playing mah-jong and people squatting around.

Beside the weak light of a candle, in a crowded dormitory, some students are reading the English dictionary while others are trying to sleep covered in many layers to keep them warm.

Their dreams are modest. Maybe one day they could chose their job, maybe they could even see Beijing, maybe they could have a room with their own bathroom, maybe they could have a whole flock of children, maybe…..

Nonetheless behind this black and white life there is always a smile.