WENCHUAN, China (BP)–No warning sounded before the ground began to shudder. One minute, the kindergartners were inside the building, pulling out their Chinese literature books. The next instant, an earthquake of unimaginable force shook the school from its very foundations.
For a moment, everyone struggled to understand what was happening. The teacher was the first to spring to action, herding the children outside and into the courtyard.
LieuLieu was at Wenchuan Primary School on May 12, 2008, when a massive earthquake shook China’s Sichuan province, killing thousands of people and displacing millions from their ruined homes. In a single day, LieuLieu lost her school, her home and everything that once seemed familiar. Her uncle was buried in a mountain mine close to Wenchuan.
Yet LieuLieu is one of the fortunate ones.
Wenchuan sits between steeply sloped, high-rising mountains and straddles a fast-moving river full of violent rapids. After the quake hit, the city was cut off, with no way for help to get in or survivors to get out.
The city was a virtual demolition zone. Few if any buildings were left undamaged from the force of the quake. During the rebuilding process, buildings that were still standing after the quake are being leveled and reconstructed — building by building and block by block.
Now, when you drive to Wenchuan, many roads are lined with new houses and businesses. The whole city seems to be under construction.
LieuLieu’s life looks very different now, just a year and a half after the earthquake. She and her parents live in an apartment with her grandmother and it will be a long time before they are able to move back into their own home. With many people still living in “temporary” camps, LieuLieu’s family is fortunate to have a relative to stay with.
Kate Taylor is a collegiate correspondent for Baptist Global Response.