"Childhood on Loess Plateau"
In China by the upper and middle Yellow River, a place once passed through by the ancient northern Silk Road, is an area called the Loess Plateau. Loess takes its the name from the yellowish silty sediment that covers the area. Or perhaps it is the other way round. One theory by scientists about this soil is that over hundreds of thousand of years it was blown over by north winds from Mongolia. In past times the area was very fertile, unfortunately this silty soil is susceptible to erosion and the impact of rain and deforestation has led to a degraded environment. In the 1990s a project to reverse the effect of erosion by planting trees, grass and reducing grazing was started to help soil retention.
Xu, who sent me the card, says that the people that live in the Loess Plateau have a hard life because of the poor transport, bad environment and bad weather. The children who live there get up early and walk long distances to school. After school and homework, children like this little boy, help with chores and the sheep. She hopes as China develops and with government help the people on the Plateau will have a better life in the future.
The little boy does not look as though he is too keen on having his photograph taken by a stranger, or maybe he is puzzled by the attention or is a little shy.