Related News

Home » Metro

From Expo's heights to the depths of destruction

ZHANG Shehui was making scaffolding for the World Expo 2010's China Pavilion at the Pudong Expo site when the 8.0-magnitude earthquake ravaged his family's homes in Longnan City, Gansu Province, one of the hardest-hit areas in China, last year.

One year later, while the structure of the 63-meter-tall Expo national pavilion of China has been finished, towering over the other buildings on the Expo site, Zhang's family of 13, who survived the tremor, still live in temporary house.

His 80-plus-year-old parents are now living in a simple house built from apple trees in front of his former house in Xihe County, a 7,000-year-old home for Longnan people. His wife, son, daughter and his brother's family, are living in tents given by donors from around the country.

But 42-year-old Zhang is still working on the joint-province pavilion next to the iconic China Pavilion in Shanghai.

Zhang is one of the few workers from quake-hit areas who continued working at Expo site after the Sichuan earthquake. Most of the workers from Sichuan and Gansu left to rebuild their homes.

"I do want to go home, but I have to earn enough to rebuild my home," he said. "The wages at the Expo site are far more than I would get in my hometown."

Every day, Zhang gets up at 5am. He begins to erect iron poles outside the Chinese provincial pavilions at 6am and fixes them into scaffolding. His work ends at 5pm when he phones his family.

Zhang said nothing changed in his daily life after the earthquake, apart from phoning his family more frequently. He calls his family once every two days now - before the earthquake, he contacted his family once every one or two weeks.

"After the earthquake happened, the telephone line at home was dead for two days. I was extremely anxious and regretted not making phone calls every day," he said.

Zhang pointed to the China Pavilion behind him and said the building had reached about 40 meters at that stage and he was working on the very top at the time.

Zhang has brought his 18-year-old daughter to Shanghai and arranged a waitressing job for her at a restaurant near People's Square. He said with their two salaries, his family can now save some money apart from everyday expenses and the cost of fertilizer.

Zhang will go back to rebuild his home at the end of the month.

"The China Pavilion is almost completed, and I want to work for my home," he said, giving the smile he could manage during the entire interview.

Zhang has been working on the China Pavilion on scaffolding and wooden structures since construction began in December 2007. He probably knows little of the master plan of the 5.28-square-kilometer land he is working on, but Zhang said he has been "witnessing the rising of the China Pavilion" and at least is very familiar with the magnificent structure.

"I can tell you some secrets," he said proudly. "The China Pavilion will use 25 shades of red to make it look perfect to onlookers."

The painting of the pavilion has been a moot point but few people know the details of the final design.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend