With the help of Village Progress, a group of Princeton University students stayed in Bangdong, a village in Lincang Prefecture where Village Progress first started. They stayed there for three weeks, harvesting tea, helping out with household chores, and teaching English at the local primary school. One of those students, Chaz Copeland, has written this story to share his experience.
For almost three weeks I stayed with a local family in a small hillside village in Bangdong. I lived with three people, who I called Ayi (auntie), Shushu (uncle), and Gege (elder brother). Like many families in the village, they harvested, dried and sold tea leaves, while also taking care of a herd of cows and goats and a few beehives. I stayed in a room that was still under construction, possibly intended for future tea storage. It had walls of wood and metal, a hole where a window would later be installed, and a makeshift bed made of plywood and cardboard where I fell asleep every night to the ringing of cowbells and the chirping of crickets.