My Nuosu colleague Aga Rehamo (now a professor at Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu) and I wrote an article about the changing ways Nuosu people are adapting to education, as many parents’ goal for their has risen from “going to school” to “going to a good school,” which at the high school level means going to either Yanyuan County High School or Yanyuan Nationalities High School. Since both these schools are in the County Seat, this means boarding, and boarding means family arrangements. Kaitlin recently wrote after she visited her “little sister” He Ying or Yyhxo Vugamo in Yanyuan:
“I am back in Liangshan studying the Nuosu language for the summer. Last weekend I visited two Yangjuan high school students, He Ying and her cousin Li Vuzhi, or Hximop Vutjy. I wrote a post about He Ying last year.
She and her cousin are living in Yanyuan County city where they are finishing up their second year of high school. They previously lived in the school dorm, where they lived with eight roommates and had to adhere to a strict schedule. This year, their family decided to rent a room just down the road from school for the two girls to live in.
Their grandfather, Hxisse Vuga, lives with them from Monday through Friday, helping them prepare meals and monitoring their studies. He returns to Yangjuan on the weekends to tend to his farming. Next year, their grandmother will switch with him and accompany the girls.
He Ying’s parents, who worked at a toy factory in far-away Guangdong province last year, have also moved closer to home. They live in Weicheng, a town twenty minutes from the county city, where they are renting a farmhouse and an apple orchard. This allows them to be closer to He Ying and to take care of their nine-year –old daughter, He Zhen. He Zhen is finally living with her parents for the first time in several years and attending a new school in Weicheng. These changes in He Ying’s family over this past year show Yangjuan families’ growing concern for their children’s education, as well as the time and energy that they are willing to invest in ensure their children have a good learning environment.
He Ying reported that their new room costs less than the dorm (300 yuan per month)and makes studying easier because there are fewer roommates and no strict requirements such as lights out at ten o’clock. Their room is one of eight rooms around courtyard and a shared bathroom. They have two beds, a table, an electric stove, and plenty of space to store clothing and books. Their neighbors are fellow students from school and a Mosuo grandmother. He Ying and Li Vuzhi quickly made friends with the other girls in the complex. They walk to school together in the morning and study in the evenings. They plan to continue renting this room through next year- the final and most rigorous year of senior middle school. He Ying and Li Vuzhi hope they can study hard this upcoming year and attend college in Xichang or near Chengdu. They often talk about their older cousins, who have graduated from college, and are an inspiration for their studies. I wish them the best of luck this upcoming year and look forward to hearing about their college life in the future!”