I am an ordinary farm girl born in the 1970s in Yucun Village, and currently work as a narrator for the Village.
A the time of my birth, Yucun’s mining economy was in its glory days. As far as I can recall, my whole family was so busy every day.
My father worked in the quarry, and my eldest brother, a tractor driver, took materials like ore, to the cement plant. Both of them left home for work at 3 o’clock in the early morning and came back around 19 or 20 o’clock at night both exhausted, and covered in dust.
My mother was busy making cement bags on her sewing machine every day. Working at the Quarry was the main source of my family’s income at that time.
Back in the 1980s, my family built a two-story house, bought a motorcycle, and enjoyed a life that was the envy of all other villagers.
But with the wealth came a constant sense of fear. Every time explosives were used to blast the rocks in the quarry, buildings in the village were subjected to strong vibrations.
Every year, villagers were injured and even killed by accidents inside the quarry. So every night, until my dad and elder brother hadn’t come home, my mom and I would wait by the road and gaze at the direction towards the quarry, until they did.
During that period of time, the local villagers had made a lot of money, but at a sacrifice of the environment.
Severe air and water pollution occurred due to the quarry, cement plant, and chemical plant. Instead of being crystal clear, the water of Yucun was milky white and more and more villagers caught diseases after drinking or bathing in it.
Wealth or death, the local villagers faced a tough choice in front of them.
In 2000, the Anji county launched the ecological county initiative and the quarry and cement factories were shut down one after the other.
As a consequence, we lost jobs, income, and found ourselves trapped.
However, when fate closes a door, it opens a window. In the same year, one AAAA class tourist attraction called Jiangnan Heaven Pool and other scenic spots namely Hidden Dragon Hundred Falls and Changgu Valley were opened in our town. This made the villagers see the promising future of eco-tourism for Yucun Village’s development.
Running a guesthouse was the kind of business that both the town and village encouraged its citizens to bring on. However, at that time, the villagers were more or less worried about the new things, fearing that they would spend too much money, have no guests, and not be able to recoup the costs.
Thanks to the preferential policies implemented by the town and village, together in their joint efforts, my family decided to be the daredevil of the situation, and took the initiative to build the village’s first guesthouse in the town.
Since then, we have embarked on the road of starting up a new business for the second time.
But how could it be that easy to operate a guesthouse?
The first step was house renovation. In fact, compared to the 600,000 yuan needed for running a guesthouse, our deposit of only 30,000 yuan was far from enough.
We borrowed money from relatives and friends, even got a big loan from the bank. Starting a business with this huge debt was never easy. How dared we! But in this way, Chunlin Mountain Villa was opened to the public on May 1, 2005.
Together there were another 9 guesthouses in Yucun Village among the first batch to join the business. At the beginning, the meagre number of guests made it far from enough to cover the cost.
To tackle the problem and strengthen our confidence, the town and village took the lead and established a guesthouse association, encouraging group management patterns and launching a series of training courses for guesthouse operators.
However, the guesthouse business was still under difficult circumstance.
On August 15, 2005, President Xi Jinping, then the governor of Zhejiang Province, visited Yucun to investigate and he spoke highly of the village’s decision of shutting down quarries, adopting the eco-tourism and guest houses business, and pursuing green development.
What he said to us was like an injection of hope into us, to diminish our concerns. Again, we had full faith in the future of ours and our cities guesthouse business.
Since then, more trainings on guesthouse operations have been organized by the village and town. In addition to online marketing, some guesthouse operators went to big cities like Shanghai and Wuxi together to explore the possibilities of the market.
Gradually, there were more and more tourists in the village, and the business of guesthouses was also getting better and better.
Those years were really painful but happy for us. Only within a few years, we had paid off the debts and our savings were growing.
In 2007, my elder brother, who had tasted the sweet flavour of success, could not be satisfied just with what we had achieved, he re-invested 3 million yuan in expanding our guesthouse from 3 rooms to 23 rooms.
The villagers often came to our home to have counsel and learn about our business experience. In our opinion, making money for yourself is one ability, and helping everyone to make money is another, even greater.
Under the initiative of my elder brother, a six farm building’s guesthouse alliance with Chunlin Mountain Villa as the center was established. Within the alliance, the group-management was conducted, and we shared the tourist and room resources with each other.
Everyone’s happiest moment was the weekend vacation bonus time, that’s when my elder brother became the “God of Wealth” in our eyes.
Now we are running a travel agency, a transportation company, and a hotel supplies washing center, forming the one-package service for tourism.
Throughout all these years, we had witnessed a dramatic shift in our development.
Instead of living off of quarries, we are taking advantage of the beautiful scenery and clean air to earn our money, which is also a much easier, safer and more convenient way to boost the local economy.
My life has changed with Chunlin Mountain Villa and Yucun Village respectively.
I used to be a garment factory worker, now I am a tourist guide for the village and a waitress at home. I often bring visitors to my home’s restaurant, and always rush to take customers’ orders and serve the dishes, I even have no time to take off my earpiece.
Though I’m busy every day, I am so proud, satisfied and happy to introduce Yucun Village and Chunlin Mountain Villa to the guests from all around the world!