This is a series of journals recording my days in the Yangtze River Headwaters volunteering project. I will try to update every day but there might be delays in the days I work in the wild without the internet. I’m also trying to write bilingual if time allows. Like it? Follow my Instagram (@anar.chica.yichenguo) for updates!
I woke up at half-past seven and made my bed as required by the organization. This is really good training for me who usually don’t remember to do that at home. But the more important thing is that working here is a great opportunity to practice minimalism. Since the temperature varies greatly on the plateau, I have to bring clothes for all seasons, and plus a thick sleeping bag for working in the wild. Therefore there wasn’t much room left in my baggage for other things. Everything I brought here are carefully picked necessities. One thing important in a minimal lifestyle is ‘less is more’. When everything redundant is removed, every remaining has to be delicate. For example, making my bed now can be Zen.
In the morning as requested by Tudan, some volunteers and staff set off to the mountain more than 5000 meters above sea level to install a camera and the solar panels that provide electricity to facilitate that camera. It is really hard labor to climb mountains at such high altitudes with heavy panels. But our WeChat working group is full of joy and amazing pictures they took standing at the height. What a bunch of cool guys!
Except for the short while that I read in the glass sunroom, I spent most of my day today in the post office. During the day it is quite busy. There are people coming to pick up their packages or send new posts, and sometimes tourists come inside to visit as well. It is also one of the volunteer’s responsibilities to be on duty in the post office. Whenever someone gets the package, our volunteer would always remind that ‘to protect the environment, please dispose trash properly!’ There are some souvenirs being sold in the post office to support the conservation center, for example, T-shirts of ‘protecting bar-headed goose’, bags with patterns of white-lipped deer or Tibetan antelope. A group of tourists from Jiangxi bought many T-shirts at once, wishing to support our work. One of the women handed out a hundred RMB bill. Our volunteer thought she has eyed on the bag hanging on the wall, but the good woman says, ’No, I don’t want anything. I just want to give you some money to improve your meals.’ We are all touched.
The only sad thing today is that one of the fellow volunteers came together with me is sent back to Golmud. Since it’s his first time on a plateau, his body can’t adjust well and he has given himself too many negative thoughts, therefore his high altitude sickness never gets better. I heard there were two volunteers went back due to the same reason in the program before us. I think I’m really lucky for that. Captain Duoduo and volunteer Xiao Cai brought banners and speakers with them when they drove him to the train station, so they can propagate ’no trash on the ground, more beautiful plateau’ to all the passengers getting off at Tuotuo River station. Since they do this very often, once the station staff sees them, they know exactly what they are up to. I heard there’s a tourist from Xining who listened carefully to the whole little lecture from Duoduo today. This gives me hope that the popularisation of environmental protection is possible.
I watched training videos and documentaries about Yangtze River Headwaters for the whole afternoon. The little female cat Mo Jiecao then slept on my legs for a whole afternoon. Finally, let me conclude my current life with what Mr. Yang Xin’s friend says to him in the video:
You have blue sky above your head every day,
breathing the cleanest air,
doing your favorite thing,
and it’s best for society.
You’re the happiest one in the world.