Nearly 100 kindergarten and primary school students living near the Huilong reservoir in Sichuan province have to be rowed to school by their families due to the poor state of the local transport infrastructure.
According to NetEase, the local government has rented five boats which have been used to shuttle the children to and from school over the past three years, but owning to the large number of students in the area, many families are still required to row their children to school.
A six-year-old girl named Long Yu is one such student. Her grandfather takes her to school when her parents aren’t free. Long says that several places have no roads by which to reach the schools. From three nearby villages, Wujiagou, Wanjiagou and Daijialiang, it takes over an hour to reach the school.
Long Yu needs to walk another ten minutes to reach her kindergarten after the boat ride. But some other students study at the much more remote Tianping Town Primary School, which is about two kilometers away.
Long Yu’s parents take turns to send her to school and back. After rowing the boat for more than two years, their hands are covered in calluses. “We have to ask for leave during heavy rainfall,” said Long Yu’s father. “Several years ago, some villager sent their kids to school in the torrential rain, his boat was capsized.”
Kids in the region learn how to row from a young age. “When I was about ten years old, I could ride my boat to go to school,” said Long Wen, one of the earliest university students from Long Yu’s village.
“We live near the water, so the kids can row the boat when they want to. Before the boats became so popular, students would need to wake up at 4 a.m. every morning in order to get round the reservoir to go to school,” said a parent.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase // Tencent ]