New village emerges from ashes in Yunnan

KUNMING: On an early Wednesday, 69-year-old Xiao Qunfeng put on his traditional costume and began working at the observation deck in Wengding, a Wa ethnic village in Yunnan province.
Xiao made tea for the visitors and told them about local customs and stories.
Wengding is in the Awa Mountains near the China-Myanmar border. It used to rely on slash-and-burn agriculture but adopted a more contemporary lifestyle after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
In the Wa language, Wengding means “the place where clouds float”. Mist is common throughout the year and often cloaks the mountains and cottages in the area.
Located in the remote mountains, Wengding was long disconnected from the outside world, but tourism has subsequently transformed the village’s fortunes.
In February last year however, a fire broke out and reduced about 100 traditional Wa thatched cottages to ashes.
Reconstruction and upgrading at the original site was undertaken with support from various parties. A village gate, a wooden drum house and a granary were among structures that had to be rebuilt, and the projects ended up taking over a year before the village could be readied to be reopened to the public.
Xiao and his family contributed to rebuilding whenever they had time, and he was not able to conceal his excitement at seeing his village gradually regain its original appearance.
“We are finally back!” he said.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item