Happiness secret to villagers’ long lives
At the age of 81, Gao Fengshui still considers himself young.
Everyday, he carries two buckets of water from the stream to his house in Wanggezhuang village in the Laoshan district of Qingdao.
“It is not something worth bragging about. Here, people in their 70s and 80s never think they are old,” said Gao with a smile.
Gao said his brother who is 84 can carry buckets of water all the way to the field over a small hill. “Even some centenarians in the village can do field work and are clear-minded and able to do calculations,” he added.
The village is now home to five centenarians and many residents who are in their 70s or 80s.
Surrounded by five mountain peaks, Wanggezhuang village is located in a valley that lies in the foot of the Laoshan Mountain.
A retreat from the urban life, the village is surrounded by beautiful scenery that has inspired many poets and painters over the ages.
However, the secret of longevity, according to the local residents, is not just the views and fresh air, it’s also because they are happy.
“The air is clean and people get on well with each other. A good mood everyday really can keep the doctor away,” said Gu Xiuying, a 100-year-old villager, who can still see and hear clearly.
Gao’s family used to run a small restaurant in the village. His mother, who died at the age of 103, could still work in the field at 100 and even recite their menu.
“I remember she often said that when people get old, they should never quit working; they should keep using the brain. Then you grow old slowly,” said Gao.
The small picturesque village in Laoshan has become a popular tourist destination in recent years with many people visiting the wonderland from afar in search of the secret behind the villagers’ longevity.
“With the influx of tourists, many villagers have now opened restaurants and small hotels. Their incomes have increased greatly,” said Gao Yujie, a village official.
Laoshan district government listed Wanggezhuang one of its Top 10 Tourism Villages in 2012.
Statistics from Laoshan Civil Affairs Bureau show that the district now has 781 couples that are over 80 years old and 22 centenarians.
The district’s proportion of people enjoying a long life ranks the first in the country, which shows that Laoshan is a place suitable to live and also to travel, said Su Peng, director of the bureau. Wang Tao contributed to this story.