displaced destinies

displaced destinies (a child at a migrant school in Shanghai)

displaced destinies (a child at a migrant school in Shanghai)

Today two good friends and I went for an adventure in a remote Shanghai neighborhood where mostly migrant workers from the provinces live and where their children go to special schools. These are the workers responsible for lifting Shanghai from the ground up to soaring levels with its new high rises and luxury hotels that mushroom at an impressive speed around the jewel of China. The residences are extremely modest and the children struggle to learn as best they can under their current circumstances. On this day the teacher said that they would be celebrating children’s day (normally on June 2nd in China) and strangely enough they pointed out a few of the girls who they consider ‘beautiful’ and explained why they were dressed in party clothes and not the usual school uniform. The declaration of their beauty was done openly in front of all the other students, a concept I found incredibly alien and difficult to understand. “She is the most beautiful girl in the class” the teacher announced loudly, ” and this is why she will be presented on stage today”.

A taxed soul

When life demands so much~ Shanghai

When life demands so much~ Shanghai

Shanghai’s migrant workers leave home, province and family to come to the big expanding city, to join the working force and help build China into the giant it wishes itself to be. They are the simplest of people in the city, the ones that have a smile ready on their faces to give to any who looks their way, the hardest workers and those whose lives are the most difficult.

This is a tribute to them, these wonderful people.

Day Two Hundred Fourty One, September 20, 2011

under a shanghai sky

I pass them by everyday, migrants from the provinces, on the streets of the city, pulling and pushing, their heavy loads, on bikes and on foot, male and female, old and even older, weariness in their eyes, wrinkles on their forehead, under the Shanghai sky.

And they remind me every single day, that I have it easy, that I should thank my lucky stars, that my small problems are petty, that life could be so much more difficult, and that someone has handed me a great card this time around…