Return to Roots 落葉歸根 Pt IV: Luhe 陆河

Pt I: Prologue
Pt II: SIN-KUL-CAN
Pt III: Lufeng 陆丰
Pt IV: Luhe 陆河
Pt V: D2282
Pt VI: Yongchun 永春
Pt VII: Xiamen 厦门 / Gulangyu 鼓浪屿
Pt VIII: Malaysian Hospitality
Pt IX: Epilogue

With relatives at Luhe

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.

On the school bus to Maihu Village – the two men seated on the right are my uncles (we share the same surname)

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 granduncle with his granddaughter

Pretty baby

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.

Filling 族譜

Siblings and I posing with the copy of 族譜

My eldest uncle then suggested that we walked to their ancestral house which was a five-minute walk away.

Walking over

Jiulong Village

Door

New vs Old

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.

Looking out from inside

Peanut milk seemed pop

Mao

My cousin is a model pupil

My uncles also showed us the portraits of my great-grandmother, granduncle and grandaunt.

Hand-drawn portrait of my great-grandmother

No visit was complete without a family photo.

Have a seat please

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.

Fields

Vegetable

Giant vegetable

What fruits are these?

Kids going home from school

Pink scarecrow

Walking down rocky path

Interesting on the way there and back:-

Racing 0001

Double Happiness

Containers

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.

Cool under shade

Street of Maihu

My aunt and her grandson

Saw someone familiar at Maihu

The food was taking quite a bit longer than expected so we decided to explore my uncle’s backyard.

Arcade operated by my uncle

The amount of trash was staggering

The place would be much prettier without the trash

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.

Kitchen

Waiting for the food to be ready

Our relatives made sure that we were fed properly.

Lunch

Like any good Chinese hosts, our relatives made sure that they offered us alcohol. The poison of choice was maotai.

“100 Years of Foolishness”

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.

Do not talk to strangers

Andeyo!

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.

Serious baby

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.

张氏宗祠

Goofing a bit

Inside ancestral hall

Ancestor

Altar

Paying respect

My father made a small donation and I was asked to write his name on the red paper.

Proof of donation

Hitchhikers whom we gave a ride to:-

Mother and son

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Our school bus

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.

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