My paternal grandfather’s ancestral village in Luhe county is “round the corner” from my paternal grandmother’s and the relatives from that side of the family also got into contact with my grandmother recently.
After breakfast, a school bus turned up at my granduncles’ village to fetch all of us to my paternal grandfather’s ancestral village.
The route from Da’an to Maihu Village, Luhe County:-
More of my family history: my paternal grandfather migrated to Malaya in his youth with his cousins, leaving his younger brother in their hometown to take care of their parents. Both he and his younger brother had passed on; the relatives whom we were visiting are his younger brother’s three sons and their families.
Only the eldest uncle still lives in the countryside, running a provision shop; the other two uncles and their families live year-round in Guangzhou and are involved in the garment business. Aware of our trip to China, they purposely traveled from Guangzhou back to their hometowns to receive us and arranged for the transport to bring us there.
The ride took around half an hour or so before we reached my eldest uncle’s house . The usual formalities were exchanged over tea and plums, a specialty of Luhe.
My eldest uncle’s son then showed us a copy of our clan’s genealogy book or 族譜 where details of the descendants were recorded inside. We were shown the page where it stated that our paternal great-grandfather had two sons and the elder son (my grandfather) had migrated to Malaya and the details of his descendants are unknown.
There was a page where one could add more entries in and I filled up the details of my grandfather’s descendants with the assistance of my relatives. Our details would be inside the next update.
My eldest uncle then suggested that we walked to their ancestral house which was a five-minute walk away.
The crumbling building on the right was the old ancestral house; the new building on the left is our relatives’ new house. My grandmother stayed for one night in the old house when she visited Lufeng in 1988.
The relatives invited us into the new house and piled us with sweets and drinks. Several more distant relatives dropped by and spoke to my father and aunts.
My uncles also showed us the portraits of my great-grandmother, granduncle and grandaunt.
No visit was complete without a family photo.
After the photo shoot, my eldest uncle would lead us back to the town through the farms. En-route we would make a detour to the graves of our ancestors.
Interesting on the way there and back:-
Our relatives wanted to treat us lunch and stools were set up for us outside the provision shop while we waited for the food to be prepared.
The food was taking quite a bit longer than expected so we decided to explore my uncle’s backyard.
The amount of trash was disturbing to say the least. I wonder if the town’s water source is from the river… For the benefit of the future generations, I hope that the trash can be cleaned up but I doubt that it will be easy. Most probably it will take many years of education and huge shift in mindset.
Another disturbing sight that I observed was how easy minors could get cigarettes. We saw a boy in secondary school uniform coming into the provision shop, took two cigarettes out of the pack and placed some notes on the table before lighting up and puffed away. No wonder so many Chinese men smoked.
We would be having our lunch at the eating place next door.
Our relatives made sure that we were fed properly.
Like any good Chinese hosts, our relatives made sure that they offered us alcohol. The poison of choice was maotai.
My throat and liver burned after a sip. I wouldn’t forget the taste of 52% alcohol in a hurry.
After the lunch our relatives made some more tea while we waited for our transport. I tried to play with my uncle’s granddaughter.
I decided to leave the crime scene and let my uncle placate the baby.
The school bus came back for us after bringing the students for school. We even gave a ride to some fellow folks from Jiulong village.
At Hekou Town, we would stop at our clan’s ancestral hall. It was closed and the caretaker had to be summoned to open the gates.
My father made a small donation and I was asked to write his name on the red paper.
Hitchhikers whom we gave a ride to:-
It was a short ride back to Da’an Village and we bid farewell to our relatives. They told us that we could always look them up if we visit Guangzhou.