Villagers help Operation Blessing workers remove the debris in Yao Jin.

China: Breaking ground, bringing relief

Villagers help Operation Blessing workers remove the debris in Yao Jin.
YAO JIN VILLAGE, China – We had another action packed day. In Yao Jin, we diverted the water flow from the village water tank so that we could carry out some vital repairs.

First we had to warn the villagers so they could stock up on water until we are finished. Tomorrow we are re-plastering the interior of the tank which cracked in the quake.

Operation Blessing took on the task of repairing the village's water tank that sustained damage during the quake.

This will allow us to fill it more and increase the water pressure so the villagers can have a good shower! It is painfully hot this time of year and not the best temperature for cleaning up thousands of tons of rubble. The villagers are working hard everyday under the hot sun and when we get that shower block finished it will make a huge difference.

Today we had two excavators working in the village, breaking rubble, tearing down walls and getting ready for removal. The jackhammer attachments are turning huge chunks of concrete into fist-sized rubble. We had a meeting with the local government officials, and at this stage, it looks like they might provide trucks to haul the debris away.

In the mountain villages, we connected a generator to an electric well pump that has been out of action since the quake.

In the mountain villages, we connected a generator to an electric well pump that has been out of action since the quake. The village was connected to the Beichuan grid and the villagers have no idea when they might get electricity again. We wired up the generator and it sprang into life and is now pumping water to two villages!

Mu Li asked us to help take her heavy water collection jugs up to the next village 1.5 miles away.

We found out about the need for a generator when a girl stopped us on the way into Yang Yim and asked us to help take her heavy water collection jugs up to the next village 1.5 miles away. When we arrived at the village I asked the girl, her name is Mu Li (pink shirt), where the villagers got water before the quake. She told us about the well in the next village and how it provided water for her village but the power line was destroyed. Now that the water is back she is a hero in her village for leading us there.

We have a really great relationship with the villages we are working in and I can see the villagers warming to us more and more each day. The OB team have become a regular fixture and they insist on us eating with them everyday, always prepare amazing Sichuan food.

Operation Blessing distributed badminton rackets to children in Yang Yim.

We were at the Wal-Mart in Chengdu yesterday (yes, they have a Wal-Mart!) buying supplies. In a Chinese Wal-Mart you can purchase live frogs and turtles, but not in the pet section. Apparently turtle is a delicacy. I picked up a bunch of badminton rackets (they were only one dollar each). We gave them out in Yang Yim today and they were an absolute hit among the kids. The village children in the camp lost all of the few toys they had, so the badminton rackets and shuttle cocks were received with huge smiles. We are really making an impact out here. From industrial machines to simple toys, the people are deeply touched by what we are providing.

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