In our last post about Chang Julan and her family, we told you about the significant setback suffered by these Heifer China project participants when seven of their sows became pregnant, but one of the sows had a difficult pregnancy and died, taking with her at least 10 unborn piglets.
In the months since then, the family's sows had 40 piglets, and Chang Julan sold 11 porkers at a price of 6.4 RMB/jin (US $2.03/kg). This left the Changs with five porkers in their possession. Although the selling price was low, the Chang family was successfully supporting themselves and hadn't lost any money. Recently the selling price went up to 7.5 RMB/jin (US $2.34/kg), so Ms. Chang decided to raise all 40 piglets for pork, calculating that she'd be able to accrue a fine profit.
There have been a few changes to the Changs' house since our last report: they used stone to fix up a pond and a clothes-washing platform. Running water and the solar water heater both have been installed and are used often. The bathroom and showers also are in good order and are rather convenient.
This year the Changs planted 4 mu (about 6.5 acres) of paddy field, and Ms. Chang estimates they will be able to harvest 3,000 kg of rice. The Changs have already harvested their 3 mu (about 4.5 acres) of corn, which produced a total of 1,500 kilograms. To speed up the corn shucking process and increase efficiency, Ms. Chang bought an electric corn shucker for about US $32. The paddy fields had about one more week until harvest time, meaning the busiest season of the year was about to commence.
Chang Julan's mother fell ill and was staying at the Longtan Township health center. Ms. Chang went to take care of her mother, which also delayed her harvesting progress by several days. In order to make the most of this busy rural season, Chang Julan went home and shucked corn into the night. Ms. Chang's son started school in September, and the total tuition and living costs added up to more than 2,000 RMB (US $317.31). Her husband is currently working as a laborer.
On August 20 Ms. Chang and other members of the Mutual Cooperation Group were interviewed by fellow member An Xian. Then on August 26, she and 10 other members went to Yuanba District's Dachao Township to participate in another interview.
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.