It’s easy to love the Shiye island lifestyle
Though the interviews at Shiye lasted just one day, my impression about its residents and environment lasted longer.
To be honest, as a woman growing up in cities, I didn’t mind visiting such a peaceful and beautiful island.
The feeling of the humid wind coming from the Yangtze River touching my cheeks, the clucking hens that lay eggs in straw piles and the sweet aromas of fruits on trees seemed fresh and felt good. The yards where they grow of flowers are extremely attractive.
The residents dress like millions of farmers in other rural areas of China. They don’t have too much money, but they don’t have to have too much. They greet strangers with smiles and live peaceful lives on the small island.
Wei Dingyu, the first farmer I met on the island, said that the exemption of medical expenses has greatly relieved his burden. Wei, whose hair has grayed over the years, lives on the subsistence allowance given by the government.
“Like many seniors, I have some diseases and have to go to hospitals frequently. I’m the man to blame for that, because I didn’t exercise much when I was young. But in those years, I had to spend almost all my time in the fields to be the family’s bread-earner.”
Wei said he now has the cell numbers of doctors he can consult with, but he tries not to call when they get off work. He also can see doctors from downtown hospitals that visit the health center every week.
Each chronic disease patient in the township has his or her appointed doctor. The doctors teach patients how to monitor blood pressure and blood sugar at home and to record the data in the remote monitoring system.
Wei said his grandson, with whom he lives, has been admitted to college and that life will be easier and happier for him in the future.
“Another advantage to living in villages is that neighbors will help you as much as they can. It’s good to live here.”
The house of Hong Jiayong, surrounded by green trees and bordering a clean river, is the dream home for many people. He showed me and my colleagues around and impressed us with the beauty of his house and his smile.
He kept an album inside that holds photos of President Xi Jinping with his family members.
Hong said the president asked about their daily lives and he added that Xi knows about their lives and cares about them.
“Our lives here are peaceful, and peaceful is good,” he said.
He said the island is planning to grow more types of melons, fruits and flowers to develop tourism. Maybe in the near future, visitors can enjoy the island as the locals do, even just for a while.