In the time since our last post, Heifer China participant Chang Julan's family suffered a loss of livestock. Seven sows all became pregnant, but in May one of the sows had a difficult pregnancy and died, taking with her at least 10 unborn piglets. Now Julan's family only has six sows and eight young pigs for fattening. During these months they also bought 20 piglets since the selling price this year was relatively low. Ms. Chang also decided to continue to raise sows and to increase her flock of chickens.

Heifer China family home

Although the whole house has yet to be whitewashed, the Chang family has completed their new kitchen along with the remainder of the renovations. They now have a hard stable floor and ceramic tiles beneath the stove. In April they installed a protective railing around the first floor windows and the second floor balcony. The family now also has running water and the ability to burn firewood, and the use of electric and biogas-fueled cooking. Ms. Chang is committed to environmental preservation, and in the future wants to focus more on the use of biogas.

Ms. Chang's son, Yang Jiusong, has completed the High School-placement exam at the Northern Vocational Middle School in Guangyuan City, and is still at school preparing to take a computer aptitude exam. Ms. Chang's husband, Yang Yongguang, works in Guangyuan City as a day-laborer, although both husband and wife are also busy clearing weeds from the cornfields.

Recently Chang Julan purchased a water tower in preparation for installing running water in the bathroom, so as to be able to better clean the toilet and to shower. She plans to install a solar heater. Ms. Chang has also bought two electric fans and a scale; the scale is for weighing pigs when she's selling them, and for organizing the fodder by weight.

Heifer China family

The entirety of the countryside was busy for a month, until early June when it all was finally over. In late Autumn the Chang family sowed over 1 mu (about 1.5 acres) of rapeseed, collecting more than 400 jin (440 pounds); sowed over 2 mu (about 3.25 acres) of wheat, collecting more than 1000 jin (1,102 pounds); irrigated 4 mu (about 6.5 acres) of paddies; and planted 2 mu (about 3.25 acres) of corn. Lastly, they also planted sweet potatoes, peanuts, red beans, green string beans, and cucumbers, along with other assorted vegetables.

Editor's note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Our colleagues in the field have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates. You can read past posts about Chang Julan and her family here.

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Heifer China