National Geographic : 1944 Mar
The National Geographic Magazine Mihlred Owen Atop Wooden Wheelbarrows, Two YWCA Girls Survey Rural Szechwan In overpopulated regions man does the work of draft animals because he cannot spare grain to feed them. Wheelbarrows draw loads of astounding bulk. Some have sails, others have ropes by which boys assist their fathers. The author used such vehicles in her "6,000 miles." But now in wartime China name cards were not enough for identification. Again and again I was grateful for two letters I carried, the one from Chen Han Seng, and a second from Dr. H. H. Kung, vice president of the Executive Yuan and Minister of Finance, au thorizing me to take pictures for the CIC; otherwise, going about with Kodaks as I was, I should have been under instant suspicion. At all important stations along the way in spectors were on the alert. Passing through Liuchow one Sunday morning at 6 o'clock, I saw the station, burned in a bombing the week before, and the new ticket office, set up in an old box car. On duty was the inspector, all helpfulness when he knew my business. If only I could express my gratitude to each of the many who helped me along the way-the YMCA secretary for the "Friends of Wounded Soldiers" who was my travel ing companion from Kweilin to Liuchow; the young woman doctor from the Northern Front; people who helped me obtain tickets and find rooms; and the many men who answered my questions. One showed me how to cut open a tung oil nut; another explained the intricate machinery of a hydroelectric plant. My main itinerary was by plane from Hong Kong to Namyung; bus to Kukong; express train via Kweilin to Chin Chen Chiang; bus via Kweiyang to Chungking; medicine truck from Chungking via Chengtu to Paoki; by the Lung-Hai Railway via Siking to Loyang and return; atop a Chinese Industrial Cooperative truck from Paoki to Lanchow; by Russian truck to Shuangshihpu; by military truck back to Chengtu; by government postal truck to Chungking; International Red Cross truck to Kunming; plane to Calcutta, trains across India to Bombay; and to New York City aboard the ill-fated Manhattan. Then, of course, there were many side trips to small villages, to visit and photograph co operatives. I traveled by wheelbarrow at Loyang, by railroad handcar at Paoki, by golden-colored, inflated goatskin rafts on the Yellow (Hwang) River at Lanchow, by rick sha and a rope seat around Chungking, and in a brand-new 1942 Ford at Kunming. A Center of National Defense Of them all, the trip to the Northwest from Paoki to Lanchow was the most satisfying. Years before, it had stirred my imagination, and now I knew it had become one of the 376.