Earthquake survivors Yan Guangbing and Zhang Xinmu

Lydia Wallace was interning at Danwei when the Sichuan earthquake struck. She is now working for a disaster relief organization in Sichuan and will be publishing stories and photographs about the people she meets. She is also blogging at

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Yan Guangbing

Maozi the Wonder Dog

Yan Guangbing lives in Luoshui, Sichuan a small town about 50 kilometers from the epicenter, along the fault line of the May 12th earthquake. He sits in front of a pile of broken bricks, cement and twisted metal. His dog lies contentedly at the end of a chain in the shade under his truck.

When our two cars full of foreign volunteers pull up across the street he stands to greet us and grins. We introduce ourselves “We are glad you have come to see us! It heartens us to have foreigners come all the way to see us.”

He quizzes us on our nationalities: American, French, British, Irish…


Yan Guangbing’s House

When we ask how he is, he wave his hand dismissively “No problem,” he says, “I’m fine. See my dog?” He gestures behind him to the to the massive pile of rubble. “He was trapped under there for four days before the soldiers helped dig him out!”

“Four days!” We are impressed. “Is that your house?” He laughs. “It used to be!” Someone asks what his dogs name is. “Maozi!” The scruffy perks up his ears at his name and he wanders out into the blinding sunshine to sniff at his admirers. Maozi the wonder dog, we dub him.


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Zhang Xinmu

Zhang Xinmu also lives in Luoshui.

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Zhang Xinmu and her father

She is ten years old. She was hanging outside the gate of the adhoc government center set up after the earthquake. I ask her where she lives and she points to the tent next door. I follow her there. “This is my father.” She says. I ask how they are and they both smile. “We are fine,” her father replies. He sell kitchen equipment. I ask if that is what he did before the earthquake. “We did it before, we do it now. People still need to cook.” They thank me when I take their picture.

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