By Wang Yongzhan
When better roads are paved in his hometown, Lu Qula, a man of Yi ethnic group in Jinyang county of Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, is growing a successful goods-delivery business and living a better life.
The man has changed five vehicles in the past decade as his business kept expanding. He also witnessed how the roads in his hometown were upgraded from unsurfaced roads, to gravel ones, and to asphalt roads.
Roads of poor quality used to be the longstanding obstacle on Jinyang county’s way to poverty alleviation. Today, as the roads linking the county and the world outside are continuously improved, Lu’s livelihood is getting better and better.
In 2010, Lu and his wife Shi Yirixia, who were migrant workers in Guangdong Province in South China, returned to their hometown.
The couple did not save much money although working outside for years, and had a difficult time when they just returned home. His large family, including one younger brother, two younger sisters and his parents, shared one house. The couple did not even have a room of their own. It was at that time that Lu made up his mind to change his life.
Then the thought of buying a car to start his own business occurred to him. He spotted an opportunity for a delivery business, because it took a lot of time to walk to the county, which was actually not far away from his village located in the mountain.
Lu bought the first minivan the next year. “He must have made a fortune when working in big cities,” said his neighbors surprisingly.
However, his wife knew better than anyone else that he borrowed most of the money to buy the vehicle, which cost more than 40,000 yuan ($5,645). She was confident in her husband, who believed he could make money and pay off the debts through delivering goods.
Travelling on the bumpy roads, Lu delivered goods every day from then on.
“There is no need to worry about the debts, because I make some money every day,” he reassured his family.
Despite his optimism, it was challenging to travel in the mountains with poor road conditions. Back then, road facilities were not in place, therefore deadly dangers may occur if the driver hesitated for a while. In the rainy summertime, the flood, together with a rolling mass of mud and debris, may happen at any time. In this case, the failure of the brake could cost the life of the driver.
Two years later, his minivan was scrapped. Without hesitation, Lu bought a new one and continued his delivery business.
While Lu was sticking at his business, the country launched a battle against poverty. Many people came to help the county, including officials from Foshan city, Guangdong Province, and Guanghan city, Sichuan Province, and construction teams which were about to construct infrastructures, including roads, bridges and houses for the county.
Lu sensed that changes were about to happen, as asphalt roads and resettlement sites for local villagers were in construction. He realized that transporting construction materials was a good choice. After consulting his wife, he sold the minivan and spent over 50,000 yuan on another second-hand minivan.
Thanks to the construction boom, Lu’s business prospered.
Being confident about the prospects of his hometown, he sold the minivan again and spent 260,000 on a truck in 2018. Although he borrowed a large amount of money to buy the truck, his wife believed that as long as they worked hard, the debt would not be a problem.
As his business thrived, Lu took out a loan to buy another truck this March. He sets out in the light dawn, driving his new truck to deliver construction materials.
With this new truck, he could make 700 to 800 yuan for a single trip, and could make at least two trips in a day. This means an income of 30,000 to 40,000 yuan per month if he brings out his best.
Over the years, the newly-built asphalt roads have replaced gravel ones, linking the county and all the villages.
The new roads were built with a high quality, with a hardened surface, silvery guard rails alongside the road which protect the vehicles, and protective nets installed in the mountain near the cliff. Besides, builders frequently maintain the road.
Delivering goods is a laborious task, yet the positive changes in his life make him more confident. In 2018, Lu bought a property with mortgages in the county. His wife also got a stable job there.
When he got married 12 years ago, it took him five hours to walk from his home to the county. The man was always covered in dust when he arrived.
Today, however, one hour of comfortable driving along the zigzag mountain roads will bring Lu’s children to their grandparents in the village.
“The best days are yet to come,” said Lu energetically.