Friday, May 25, 2012


So, there's a drought happening in Yunnan province* that's been going on for a while, and it's getting relatively serious in my region. A lot of the time now, you'll turn on a tap and nothing will come out. In nearby areas that are harder hit, bottled water is being used for everything. In my town, huge water barrels are being sold to all the business so that they won't run out of water during the day. I'm not really that affected on a day to day basis--worst case scenario for me is not getting to do laundry, or shower. But for people who depend on water for agriculture, and watering livestock, I know that this drought is really scary.

In other news, I was cleaning up after my class, and one of my kids came up and told me that I'm now a much better teacher than I was at the beginning of the year (when I was awful) and wondered about what made me get better. It made me all warm and happy inside. I just wish I'd been able to start off the year how I am now--the students would be in such a better place, and I think that I lost some students first semester because they got poor grades, didn't understand, and just got disheartened. It's sad to think that if I had done a better job, kids that are now not paying attention, or have given up on my class might be paying attention and be excited about (or at least slightly interested in) English. On the other hand, it does get me excited about next year, and the rest of this year for that matter.

*There are 22 provinces in China, as well as a lot more people, so each province is a good deal bigger than most states. Yunnan province has a population of roughly 46 million, so it's a big place, and a drought here affects a ton of people. In February, the Kunming (capital) government said that over 3 million people don't have enough drinking water. 3 million people. That's more than the population of some US states.


  1. Bummer about the drought. But great to have more confirmation that you are improving as a teacher. Keep up the great work!

  2. What a great compliment! Did you explain that you worked hard to get better? Nothing like actually seeing that hard work does help! The drought sounds bad. I can't imagine not having water when I want it. Scary.

  3. Drought is terrifying. I know that I personally take the stability of my life entirely for granted. In Ghana, one of the people in our group asked the former mayor of Accra what he was most proud of, and he said the continued existence of the country. And it really is a hugely impressive accomplishment considering the challenges the country has faced domestically and the regional instability...
    Yeah, drought is really terrifying. Where do most people in Yunnan (or, you know, your particular area), typically get their water? I mean, river, aquifer, rain...? Also, the article said that money was being allocated for drought relief--what does that mean in practice? Shipping water in?
    Congratulations on the compliment!!!!! I know you've worked for it. :)