Changes take place in Xianrendong Village
At the "Chachaya" home stay inn run by Fan Chengyuan in Xianrendong (fairy cave) Village, there is a "host room" featuring worn brick walls, on which hang various farming tools of the Yi people. According to Fan, the "host room" is special concept in the Yi culture. Now that the room is turned into a guest room, it entertains the tourist, while making the ethnic culture known to more.
Xianrendong Village forms core the Puzhehei scenic area in southeast Yunnan’s Wenshan Zhuang Autonomous Prefecture, and it is a settlement of the Sani branch of the Yi ethnic group. In summer, the village is surrounded by continuous lotus flowers that bloom in a row and form picturesque scenes against blue sky and white clouds. Strolling in the village of Xianrendong, you can see seniors embroider leisurely at the arrays of Sani dwellings with yellow walls and earthen tiles.
However, the bustling Xianrendong had been an isolated village cut off from the outside world before Puzhehei embraced tourism development. For generations, the villagers lived on fishing, and the per capita net income was less than 300 yuan annually. The changes began in the 1990s, when the Puzhehei projects allowed villagers to engage in tourist services and get rich gradually. Today, the per capita income of villagers exceeds 40,000 yuan.
Taking the lead in rural tourism among villagers, Fan Chengyuan runs the "Chachaya" home-stay inn in Xianrendong(fairy cave) Village. In his inn, there is a "host room" featuring worn brick walls, on which hang various farming tools of the Yi people. According to Fan, the "host room" is special concept in the Yi culture. Now that the room is turned into a guest room, it entertains the tourist, while making the ethnic culture known to more.
In the development of tourism, Xianrendong attaches importance to the protection and inheritance of ethnic cultures. The villagers sorted out local ancient books, and they compiled over 50 original ethnic songs and dances such as "Ancient Fairies", "Washing Song", "Sanhu Dance" and "Bonfire Love". During holidays, the villages' art troupe would sing and dance around the bonfires, presenting visitors a cultural feast.
At the end of 2016, the Yunnan-Guangxi railway reached the Puzhehei scenic area, bringing more tourists and investors to the village. Among them is Mr. Yang Sheng, a Kunming native who also runs a home stay inn in Xianrendong. Yang said that he hired local villagers and learned Yi culture to achieve better localization, and now he is quite accustomed to local practices. “Investors from outside are better at skills in service and management, which can be learned by villagers,” said Fan Chengyuan. “At the same time, villagers also tell investors about local customs, and we heap each other.”
In the future, villagers in Xianrendong plans to collectively use their farmland for agro-tourism, where tourists can better experience the Sani farming by tilling and fishing in the rice fields.
Reporting by Yi Jia (Yunnan Culture & Tourism Times); trans-editing by Wang Shixue